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It is no news that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), or simply North Korea, has been on the wrong side of the United Nations (UN) and the free world at large.
Stemming from that, some sanction experts with the UN have made it clear that attending any conference in North Korea, including the upcoming crypto conference, is considered criminal. Therefore, attendees will be penalized for it.
All hell broke loose in August when reports went around, alleging that North Korea is defrauding banks and crypto exchanges to finance its weapon of mass destruction programs. Prior to this disclosure, North Korea was already under UN sanctions since 2006 for its weapon of mass destruction programs – the nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
Since then, Americans and citizens of other countries have been asked to steer clear from transacting with the country. Knowing that crypto is also been used to finance these deadly programs, the UN was compelled to add crypto conferences and transactions to the ban list.
With the privacy-centric nature of cryptocurrencies, it shouldn’t come as a shock that North Korea will turn to the crypto community as a channel to finance its programs. Independent UN experts already unraveled that approximately 2 billion USD has been amassed for the programs via “widespread and increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks to steal from banks and cryptocurrency exchanges.”
Following the sanctions, countries are not allowed to provide any form of help to North Korea else it would be read as an illegal help to finance the dictatorial state’s illicit programs. The sanctions prevent any country from offering or receiving “financial transactions, technical training, advice, services or assistance” from North Korea.
What It Means for the Crypto Industry
With these warnings in place, countries or citizens of any country who goes against these rules are liable to be tried for sanctions violation. This makes it impossible for crypto enthusiasts in other countries to attend the forthcoming crypto conference scheduled to run from February 22-29 this year.
Although North Korea’s website of the conference adamantly states that “Americans are welcome to apply to attend and that their passports would not be stamped so there will be no evidence of your entry to the country,” the UN sanction experts are strongly warning that attending the conference means you are part of a meeting planning to exploit crypto for sanctions evasion and money laundering.
To show a stand in the matter, the crypto enthusiast and expert Virgil Griffith, who attended the last crypto conference in North Korea, was arrested for these same crimes. And the UN appears to be ready to do the same to anyone else who defies this warning too.
These inferences were gotten from an excerpt of a confidential report, scheduled to be submitted to the United Nations Security Council later this month.