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Tumbling Price of Stolen Crypto Spells Trouble for North Korea

2 mins
Updated by Geraint Price
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In Brief

  • North Korea has been severely affected by the market crash.
  • Chainalysis told Reuters that the value of the stolen funds is now $65 million.
  • The country uses crypto to evade sanctions and funds its weapons programs.
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The recent market crash has led to the value of stolen crypto held by North Korea to drop by over 60%.

The total value of the stolen crypto it holds is estimated to be $65 million, down from $170 million at the start of the year, reported Reuters.

North Korea has conducted several cryptocurrency hacks to fund its nuclear weapons program, for which it has been hit with several sanctions. 

It has turned to crypto-assets to sustain itself, but the drop in bitcoin prices has had a major impact.

South Korean government officials have noted that their neighbor’s inability to cash in amid the bear market would make it rethink how it would fund its weapons programs. 

North Korea has still been conducting military operations, with multiple missile tests taking place this year.

Analyst claims one theft has lost 80% in value

One analyst from TRM Labs said that one of North Korea’s thefts in 2021 had lost 80-85% of its value because of the market crash and is now worth less than $10 million. 

Chainalysis, which has reported on North Korean activity before, said that the state’s stolen funds are now valued at $65 million, down from $170 million at the start of the year.

North Korea has always denied these hacks, but it appears clean from on-chain data analysis. The understanding is that the country finds brokers to buy the crypto for cash, often held outside the country.

U.S. agencies warned entities to be careful not to hire North Korean IT workers online and offered guidelines to help with the matter. The U.S. Treasury also sanctioned three Ethereum addresses this year supposedly linked to North Korea.

Crypto companies are a clear target for North Korea, which finds theft in this asset class an attractive way to avoid the effects of economic sanctions. However, the world seems to be wising up, so the easy money may not last much longer.


In adherence to the Trust Project guidelines, BeInCrypto is committed to unbiased, transparent reporting. This news article aims to provide accurate, timely information. However, readers are advised to verify facts independently and consult with a professional before making any decisions based on this content.

Rahul Nambiampurath
Rahul Nambiampurath's cryptocurrency journey first began in 2014 when he stumbled upon Satoshi's Bitcoin whitepaper. With a bachelor's degree in Commerce and an MBA in Finance...