Sanctions-hit North Korea will hold a two-day international Blockchain and cryptocurrency conference. A report by Straits Times published on August 25, 2018, states that Pyongyang will use the October 1st and 2nd forum to show its proficiency in the fields followed by a meet-and-greet with North Korean business leaders on October 3.
The US based-Radio Free Asia (RFA) quoted a security expert on Saturday stating the conference will host Blockchain and cryptocurrency experts and speakers from all over the world. There is scanty information on how the government will pull its act together on this in a country with an almost non-existent conference tourism industry and travel bans offered by countries like the United States to their citizens against visiting the country unless circumstances dictate.
North Korea to Open its Gates for Crypto?
News on the conference, if true, shows an exciting development on the international diplomatic stage since North Korea is ruled by one of the last iron-fisted dictators and hosting an international conference sends signals that the administration may be headed towards a policy of openness and transparency. If a political change takes place in North Korea, perhaps it will result from economic rather than political propaganda, as it happened in with USSR some thirty years ago.
Like Turkey and Venezuela, the North Korean regime has been involved in state-level cryptocurrency trade as a way of side-stepping international trade sanctions.
Blamed for Numerous Cryptocurrency Hack Attacks
The state owns a dreaded army of hackers who perpetrate high-level Cyber-attacks on foreign lands with internet connectivity comparable to that of a small office.
For instance, fingers pointed at North Korean hackers for the attack on South Korea’s Bithumb where $7 million was lost, the $81 million heist from the Bank of Bangladesh besides the “WannaCry” ransomware Cyber-attack where hundreds of thousands of computers in over 150 countries were infected.
The Russian Internet security giant Kaspersky Labs opened the lid on a North Korean hacking team dubbed the Lazarus Group that spread a virus called “AppleJeus” at an unnamed cryptocurrency exchange. The attack happened after an employee of the exchange downloaded a fake crypto trading platform that resembled the genuine website.
The conference happens when the Korea Development Bank claims to have evidence of small-scale cryptocurrency mining by the North Korean administration between May and July 2017. However, without giving reasons, Yonhap News Agency claimed the initiative failed. The report by the Korea Development Bank confirms suspicions that the hermit kingdom is looking at cryptocurrencies to circumvent sanctions imposed on King Jong-un’s regime.