While most countries of the world are still developing their relationship with cryptocurrency, North Korea has been off to a bumpy start. The country has been accused repeatedly of sponsoring a team of hackers who have stolen cryptocurrency from various exchanges and individuals and this is allegedly being used to fund their nuclear weapons program. It is also rumored that these are in a bid to avoid US sanctions that have been placed on North Korea. Regardless, it is obvious that North Korea’s relationship with cryptocurrency is not conventional in the least.
According to January 15, 2019 reports, the United Nations has issued a public warning stating that attendance of a blockchain conference in North Korea in February 2020 will constitute a violation of international law.
Violation of Laws
This comes barely a week after Ethereum Foundation researcher Virgil Griffith was indicted for his attendance at a North Korean Blockchain conference in which he gave lessons on how to avoid sanctions using blockchain and this constitutes a violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.
Besides this, Griffith had apparently been encouraging other Americans to attend the conference this year and according to the website for the conference, citizens from Japan Israel and so on are encouraged to attend and it has been stated that their passports will not be stamped. Regardless, Griffith was unable to get away with his acts and is currently facing charges of up to 20 years in prison.
“We will provide a paper visa separated from your passport, so there will be no evidence of your entry to the country. Your participation will never be disclosed from our side unless you publicize it on your own,” the website says.
While blockchain and cryptocurrency communities are a global concept, it seems North Korea will not be a part of this community anytime soon as they have been facing US sanctions for almost 14 years now and this has to do with their use of ballistic missiles and other nuclear weapons. Hopefully, the incident with Griffith as well as a public warning will deter others from attending the conference this year.