The government of North Korea seems to have been testing various crypto mining operations at a low level, with verifiable information on these efforts during the months of May and July last year. This was revealed in a report issued by the Korea Development Bank (KDB), a state-owned bank consolidated as one of South Korea’s leading financial services providers.
Although there are no links to the primary source, the well-known Korean news portal Yonhap News mentions that the government of the country economically blocked by its socialist policies would be interested in exploiting the “characteristics of cryptocurrencies, including anonymity, difficulties of tracing money and cashability,”
According to the source, the report mentions that the efforts were unsuccessful, however the South Korean government expressed some concern, because although the South Korean crypto-market represents one of the largest in the world, North Korea should not have access to such technology because it could use it to secure funds that could be controlled by rival governments of the socialist nation and allies of South Korea if they remained in fiat.
North Korea Crypto-Land: Hackers, Governemt and Underground Operations
Yonhap News comments that KDB has not been able to determine with absolute certainty who is responsible for these operations, as the majority of North Koreans do not seem to have much knowledge of the subject:
“Ordinary North Koreans, however, appear to have little knowledge of cryptocurrencies, the report said … In recent interviews with North Korean defectors, all of them replied that they don’t know about cryptocurrencies in the North, according to the report.”
However, a research unit of the Korea Development Bank concluded that despite the failure of mining operations, regarding trading, some activities could still be carried out from that country.
“The report, compiled by a research unit of South Korea’s state-run Korea Development Bank (KDB), also claimed that a North Korean technology firm, named Chosun Expo, is developing and selling a market-exchange platform for bitcoin.”
Although it is difficult to determine who might be behind these transactions, some specialized media analyses such as FXEmpire comment that
“Such efforts were most likely carried out by the country’s government since regular civilians do not have access to proper internet services and expensive mining equipment…
Lazarus [a north-Korean hacking group] is the most likely firm to be involved in matters regarding cryptocurrencies in North Korea but they most likely abandoned that mission because it is resource-intensive. However, their pursuits with cryptocurrencies will most likely continue given that it presents an alternative way of procuring goods and services especially since the local currency is likely losing its value.”