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North Korea Stole $700 Million in Cryptocurrency – 30% of Its Foreign Currency Earnings

1 min
Updated by Geraint Price
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In Brief

  • North Korea reportedly stole around $700 million in cryptocurrency in 2022 to fund its ballistic missile program.
  • The stolen amount constitutes around 30% of North Korea's foreign currency income, according to the NIS.
  • Global agencies, including the US Treasury, are imposing sanctions to combat North Korea's illicit cyber activities.
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South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) confirmed that North Korea’s cryptocurrency hackers stole around $700 million in crypto last year.

North Korea has been notorious for being involved in some of the largest cryptocurrency crimes to fund its illicit ambitions.

North Korean Hackers Use Crypto Mixers

According to Yonhap News, a senior NIS officer confirmed that North Korea stole around $700 million worth of cryptocurrency in 2022 on two occasions. He said:

“North Korea stole a total of US$700 million worth of cryptocurrency last year, equivalent to the money that would enable the country to fire 30 intercontinental ballistic missiles”

Furthermore, the NIS officer believes that the amount stolen by hackers contributes 30% to North Korea’s foreign currency income.

In June, BeInCrypto reported that the United Nations estimated that North Korean hackers stole around $630 million to over a billion worth of cryptocurrency in 2022. Lazarus Group, one of the state-funded hackers’ organizations, is linked with the infamous $620 million Axie Infinity’s Ronin network hack.

Hackers use crypto mixers such as Tornado Cash and Blender to siphon off money. The recent Atomic Wallet hack also led to one of the mixers used by North Korean hackers.

Not just in South Korea, but agencies worldwide are trying to fight North Korean hackers. In April, the US Treasury Department issued sanctions against three individuals who allegedly supported the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) through illicit financing and malicious cyber activity.

Want to protect yourself from scammers and hackers? Read our article on the 15 most common crypto scams.

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For BeInCrypto’s latest Bitcoin (BTC) analysis, click here.

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Harsh Notariya
Harsh Notariya is a journalist at BeInCrypto, who writes about various topics, including decentralized physical infrastructure networks (DePIN), tokenization, crypto airdrops, decentralized finance (DeFi), meme coins, and altcoins. Before joining BeInCrypto, he was a community consultant at Totality Corp, specializing in the metaverse and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Additionally, Harsh was a blockchain content writer and researcher at Financial Funda, where he created educational reports on...
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