Regulation of Blockchain and cryptocurrencies in North Korea

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North Korea is officially the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Is an East Asian country on the Korean Peninsula. North Korea’s population is over 25 million people.

We are a legal firm specialized in Blockchain, cryptocurrencies, smart contracts and tokenization.

 

North Korean Bitcoin policies in cryptocurrencies are yet to be officially established

Cryptocurrencies, as a money without central authority and high anonymity, violate North Korean laws that were not established specially for blockchain-based technologies.

 

North Korea Is Building its own cryptocurrency

North Korea is in the early stages of developing its own cryptocurrency. Apparently it is an attempt to avoid crippling international sanctions and circumvent the U.S.-dominated global financial system, a representative for the regime told VICE News[1], Alejandro Cao de Benos. He is the official in charge of North Korea’s cryptocurrency conferences, and a special delegate for the Committee for Cultural Relations for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

The cryptocurrency will be “more like bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies” said Alejandro. “We are still in the very early stages in the creation of the token. Now we are in the phase of studying the goods that will give value to it,” said Cao de Benos. What is sure is that there are “no plans to digitize the [North Korean] won for now”.

 

Other countries are in the same situation

Other countries like Russia, Venezuela and Iran have explored similar projects. They are interest in creating nationalized cryptocurrencies as tools to offset U.S. financial power and increase sanctions resistance.

Annie Fixler, an expert on sanctions and illicit finance at the conservative, Washington-based think tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told that “Washington’s use of sanctions now is reliant on the dollar’s role in the global financial system – U.S. sanctions have significant secondary effects because non-US banks can’t risk losing access to dollar transactions by doing business with sanctioned persons”. Fixler also said that “If transactions can flow easily around the world without touching the dollar, then nations like North Korea are insulated from U.S. sanctions”[2].

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North Korean hackers and romours

Hackers have stolen 2 billions from banks and cryptocurrency exchanges, according to a confidential U.N. report seen by Reuters[3].

Some media sustain that North Korea is trying to steal bitcoin and other virtual currencies to avoid sanctions[4].

 

This has been radically denied by the North Korean government. The spokesperson for the National Coordination Committee of the DPRK for Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Sunday issued the following statement:
“The United States and other hostile forces are now spreading ill-hearted rumors that we have illegally forced the transfer of two billion US dollars needed for the development of WMD programs by involving cyber actors.
A question being raised is on such fabricated information, unreasonably accusing us with no scientific ground, reflected even in the Midterm Report of the Panel of Experts of the Sanctions Committee against the DPRK, the UN Security Council, which we have never ever recognized.

The fabrication of such a sheer lie by the ringleaders of cyber crime and all other crimes is quite an absurd act aimed at re-enacting the same old trick as the Hitler fascist propagandists used to cling to, often saying “Tell a lie a hundred times and it will pass as a truth.”

Such a fabrication by the hostile forces is nothing but a sort of a nasty game aimed at tarnishing the image of our Republic and finding justification for sanctions and pressure campaign against the DPRK.

We hereby warn that we will never ever tolerate any impudent act which impairs the dignity of our state and therefore, we will calculate, once and for all, the acts committed[5]”.

 

 

A US citizen charged in the United States with conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act[6]

Virgil Griffith, 36, is a resident of Singapore and citizen of the United States.  Griffith is charged with conspiring to violate the IEEPA, which carries a maximum term of 20 years in prison[7].

 

US Federal prosecutor Geoffrey S. Berman said that “As alleged, Virgil Griffith provided highly technical information to North Korea, knowing that this information could be used to help North Korea launder money and evade sanctions.  In allegedly doing so, Griffith jeopardized the sanctions that both Congress and the president have enacted to place maximum pressure on North Korea’s dangerous regime.[8]

 

Assistant Attorney General John Demers said:  “Despite receiving warnings not to go, Griffith allegedly traveled to one of the United States’ foremost adversaries, North Korea, where he taught his audience how to use blockchain technology to evade sanctions.  By this complaint, we begin the process of seeking justice for such conduct.[9]

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. said: “There are deliberate reasons sanctions have been levied on North Korea.  The country and its leader pose a literal threat to our national security and that of our allies.  Mr. Griffith allegedly traveled to North Korea without permission from the federal government, and with knowledge what he was doing was against the law.  We cannot allow anyone to evade sanctions, because the consequences of North Korea obtaining funding, technology, and information to further its desire to build nuclear weapons put the world at risk.  It’s even more egregious that a U.S. citizen allegedly chose to aid our adversary[10].”

The magazine’s Off the Hook editor, Emmanuel Goldstein, tweeted in apparent disbelief that attending a conference and explaining the “concept of cryptocurrency…are crimes now?![11].

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[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] for more information contact iferrerh@fbsabogados.com

 

Despacho de Abogados Ferrer-Bonsoms & Sanjujo

Ferrer-Bonsoms y Sanjurjo

Ferrer-Bonsoms y Sanjurjo

 

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