If you were wondering just who was buying those millions of graphics cards during the peak of the cryptocurrency craze, it turns out it was those pesky North Koreans. Fresh from controlling the weather with superpowers, learning to drive at age three, discovering unicorns, and finding a cure for the common cold, Kim Jong-un also set his state to mining and stealing billions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency.
This news comes via the UN Security Council North Korea Sanctions Committee, who claim “sophisticated attacks” have been used to launder heaps of crypto. In turn, they believe this revenue has been used to fund weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles programs. All we wanted were reasonably-priced video cards and a dictator has to come along and ruin it.
Within the report, the UN alleges North Korea utilised an army of hackers which “forced illegal transfers of funds from financial institutions and cryptocurrency exchanges, launder stolen proceeds and created income to avoid international sanctions."
Cryptocurrency exchanges make perfect fodder for attacks, provided they can be pulled off. Tracking and tracing the money is nearly impossible as crypto isn’t currently regulated. This allows North Korea to skirt around trade sanctions designed to minimise the cash available for just such developments. There’s a reason crypto is the preferred currency of the dark web.
The hacking allows North Korea “to generate income in ways that are harder to trace and subject to less government oversight and regulation than the traditional banking sector.” The report claims NK are supplementing the theft with traditional crypto mining techniques in order to generate more revenue.
So, er, if you wanted reason #37658 for hating cryptocurrency, here it is.