“Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” North Korea is a living, yet horrible testament to this saying. In an attempt to stop North Korea from developing Nuclear weapons, the United States has placed tough sanctions on the isolated country and is preventing them from receiving income.
Priscilla Moriuchi, a former top official with the National Security Agency has recently shed light on how they are getting around these sanctions. They are doing so with cryptocurrencies. Priscilla has went on to claim that they garner up to $200 million by turning cryptocurrencies into cash. Although it isn’t enough to completely fund their nuclear program, it certainly does help them.
The ideals based around cryptocurrency were always based on decentralization, anonymity and security. This is perfect for a country as isolated and shut off from the rest of the world as North Korea. No doubt they are using cryptocurrencies to go around United States sanctions placed on them. Priscilla further pushed this point when she stated, “It’s not illegal in any way, unlike a lot of the things that North Korea is doing today to generate funds: counterfeiting US dollars and cigarettes or selling wildlife and illegal drugs.”
She commented further, “North Korea has such extensive criminal networks that have been well-established for decades to facilitate illegal activities. If Pyongyang were able to cash out into physical currency, it would be relatively easy for them to move that currency back into North Korea and to buy things with the physical currency.”
The fingers are being pointed at cryptocurrency due to the persistence of their nuclear program. Any other countries with economics sanctions placed upon them wouldn’t be coming up with the means to support such a program. Furthermore, we must keep in mind that we can’t blame cryptocurrencies for the actions of North Korea.