North Korea is trading crypto to undermine international sanctions, claim researchers

North Korea is said to be trading cryptocurrencies and launching its own, according to a new claim…

by Manoj Sharma for CNR

One of the most secretive countries in the world, North Korea, is reportedly using cryptocurrencies to bypass international sanctions placed on it by the US and its allies.

Ross Delston, an American attorney who specialises in anti-terrorist financing, and Lourdes Miranda, a crime analyst and an independent financial intelligence who specialises in international intelligence snooping, laid out their claims in a piece with the Asia Times. The pair are convinced that North Korea is not only trading cryptos behind closed doors, but launching its own too.

As per the report, Pyongyang is said to be utilising digital assets, coupled with “various international exchanges, mixing and shifting services”, to directly undermine the sanctions and restrictions imposed on the nation.

The duo explained that North Korea would be able to utilise its own or already-established cryptocurrencies to open online accounts under the guise of a non-adversarial nation to tamper cryptosystems that disregard KYC/AML in a bid to bypass sanctions.

To mitigate the risk of catching on, the nation could use a transaction mixer to split the linear pattern of transactional data that public blockchains offer, while still being on the same chain. After completing the mixing process, North Korea can then in theory even use ‘quick’ crypto-shifting services to convert its digital asset into other cryptos. It will then be able to exchange their tumbled cryptocurrency holdings for fiat currencies with none of the sanctions attached.

The two explained the whole act of concealment to the Asia Times.

Certainly, this is not the first time cryptos are used in a way to circumvent international pressures (Venezuela instantly springs to mind). North Korean authorities have made no comment on the claims, as you might expect.

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