Experts are concerned that international sanctions on regimes like that of North Korea could become obsolete in a world of digital money.
North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un is reportedly exploring cryptocurrencies as a new way to boost his country’s independence and ease economic sanctions. Kim will meet with U.S. president Donald Trump on June 12.
A cybersecurity firm has found that North Korean hackers have been targeting cryptocurrency investors and exchanges worldwide. Meanwhile, South Korean authorities are accusing the North of stealing millions of dollars in digital coins.
U.S. experts estimate that North Korea is gaining up to $200 million by mining and trading the digital tokens. Also, North Korean hackers are now demanding ransom payments be made in bitcoins. In May 2017, North Korea asked the U.K. to pay ransomware in cryptocurrencies after taking its hospitals’ digital systems hostage.
Experts also voiced concerns that North Korea could create its own cryptocurrency to keep international sanctions at bay. However, the country would not be the first to resort to state-sponsored digital currencies.
Russia, Venezuela, and Iran Eyeing Cryptocurrencies
Other economies that have been crippled by U.S. sanctions are exploring the possibility. These countries include Venezuela, Russia, and Iran.
According to Iran’s media, the Information and Communications Technology Minister explicitly said that cryptocurrencies could help the country “circumvent sanctions” since the currencies are not under U.S. oversight.
Russia is reportedly working on a cryptocurrency called CryptoRuble which will enable Moscow “settle accounts” with other nations and entities across the planet “with no regard for sanctions.”
Cash-Strapped Venezuela has recently launched the Petro, which the country’s president, Nicolas Maduro, sees as a “kryptonite” against the United States’ interference in the country.
What’s more, Iran, Russia, and Venezuela are coordinating these efforts to create a financial block that could create a safe platform for international transactions.
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