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North Korea’s weapons program is also among crypto losers

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One factor I’ve come to understand is that cryptocurrency isn’t really very good at its killer use case: crime. At this time’s instance comes from North Korea, the place the regime’s battle chest of stolen cryptocurrency is instantly value quite a bit much less than it was once.

Right here’s an exceptionally humorous sentence from Reuters:

Previous, unlaundered North Korean crypto holdings monitored by the New York-based blockchain analytics agency Chainalysis, which embody funds stolen in 49 hacks from 2017 to 2021, have decreased in worth from $170 million to $65 million because the starting of the yr, the corporate instructed Reuters.

That’s a 61 % loss, general, for these of you protecting monitor at dwelling. The crypto from one 2021 heist has misplaced not less than 80 % of its worth, an analyst with TRM Labs instructed Reuters. North Korea, reached for remark at its London embassy, has referred to as this “completely faux information,” which: lol, lmao.

North Korea is sort of fully remoted from the conventional monetary system resulting from… circumstances… which has made it tougher to work on its nuclear program. In 2019, Virgil Griffith, who as soon as labored for the Ethereum Basis, traveled to North Korea for a cryptocurrency convention, the place he defined methods to use cryptocurrency to interact in sanctions evasion. Photos from this visit confirmed Griffith standing in entrance of a whiteboard. On the whiteboard: a smiley face with “No sanctions yay.” Griffith was finally sentenced to greater than 5 years for sanctions violations.

The issue for North Korea is about the identical as it’s for any hacker: North Koreans have to show their stolen cryptocurrency into actual cash, fiat forex, to make use of it. The hitch with fencing stolen items is that the thief is unlikely to get face worth — so North Korea’s precise takings from cybercrime had been already lower than they seemed to be, even earlier than line went down.

However much less cash is just not no cash. Conversion issues however, North Korea used cyberattacks to generate about $2 billion for its weapons program in 2019, in line with Reuters. No phrase on smiley faces.

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