Bitcoin has become a very lucrative method of investment. This, however, comes with its own challenges like cyber-crime since Bitcoin and other digital currencies are highly targeted. Bitcoin has also been associated with funding criminal activities and also use in money laundering. North Korea seems to be leading when it comes to Bitcoin attacks. The county is said to be attacking exchanges in order to steal Bitcoin to support its nuclear weapons.
According to a report released by a cyber-security official Priscilla Moriuchi, North Korea has already raked in 11,000 Bitcoins. The Bitcoin’s value is about $120 million at the current market. Ms. Moriuchi claimed that North Korea earned those coins through different methods one of them being mining. According to her:
“I would bet that the coins earned by North Korea are being turned into currency so as to support the country’s nuclear an ballistic missile program.”
This seems to have come during a period when North Korea is facing tough international sanctions over its nuclear programs. US president already stated in February that he would impose the heaviest sanctions ever imposed on a country on North Korea. The sanctions would target many ships, shipping companies, and different farms that are said to support Pyongyang to fund its weapons.
US main aim is to starve North Korea off funds until it opens up to negotiations about its programs. Ms. Moriuchi has however claimed that this could fail to happen because the state could potentially dodge these restrictions using digital currencies. According to her, the country has already built a network of operational bases in several countries like China where it carries out all its cyber operations.
Moriuchi went on to conclude by stating that there should be tighter regulations on digital currencies and especially on exchanges. “Regulations can help create a paper trail where it would be easy to identify all North Korea accounts and where these cryptocurrencies are exchanged.” She said.