North Korea allegedly stole billions of won from South Korea according to South Korea parliamentary intelligence committee member Kim Byung-kee. One billion won is roughly equal to £651,000.
Kim claimed, “North Korea sent emails that could hack into cryptocurrency exchanges and their customers’ private information and stole cryptocurrency worth billions of won.” He also added that North Korea is still making efforts to hack cryptocurrency exchanges. The process is done by sending out emails that have the ability to retrieve customer information. South Korea declared that it is doing its best to halt future attacks. Kim did not elaborate on the exchanges ransacked by the North.
According to Dr Garrick Hileman, a cryptocurrency expert, North Korea may be using Bitcoin to prop up its fledgling economy. He added, “There is growing interest from people in the national security space in cryptocurrency and how this is being used perhaps by rogue nations, like North Korea.” Hileman saw a possible future where cryptocurrencies might be involved in global political conflicts. “That potentially is an issue for space as nation-states get more interested in the technology and ones that have political objectives that are in conflict with other nations, you can see cryptocurrencies caught in the crosshairs in potentially a geopolitical squabble.”
No details have emerged on the specific cryptocurrency North Korea is focusing its efforts on, but its leader – Kim Jong-un – has recently targeted Bitcoin.
Bitcoin is the currently the most popular cryptocurrency despite its current struggle of maintaining its value – a stark contrast to its high price in 2017.
Nicholas Colas, a US analyst, explained the possible reason for Bitcoin’s low price. “Bitcoin is considered the gateway drug to all cryptos and it has acted exactly that way..Right now the Google search data is telling me there’s not really that next leg up in Bitcoin because there’s not that interest that leads to wallet growth that leads to price appreciation.” Though another cryptocurrency, Ethereum, is currently trading well, Colas explained the cause of its active movement. “Some of the movement in Ethereum, which has traded much better in January, is just money which is being pulled out of Bitcoin.”