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News Report

UN Report Says North Korea Funding Missile Program With Stolen Crypto

2 mins
Updated by Kyle Baird

In Brief

  • UN officials briefed media in the report, saying that crypto theft was an important source of revenue for North Korea.
  • The country has focused on exchanges in Asia, Europe, and North America, according to the report.
  • Chainalysis has also reported that North Korea has stolen at least $400 million in crypto.
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A confidential UN report states that North Korea has been funding its nuclear and ballistics missile program through cryptocurrency stolen from exchanges. The report says that the country has stolen at least $50 million between 2020 and 2021.

The United Nations has written a confidential report, seen by Reuters, where it claims that North Korea has been funding its missile program with stolen crypto. In a media briefing, UN officials said that the isolationist nation had stolen millions of dollars in cryptocurrency in 2020 and 2021, which is worth at least more than $50 million.

The confidential report states that the country has been conducting several cyberattacks and is an important source of revenue for the nuclear missile program. Most of the targets of the attack are exchanges in Asia, Europe, and North America, and supposedly at least three exchanges have been attacked.

The country has been in the news for several weeks for a series of missile tests that have concerned Western governments. The question of how these programs have been funded as the country suffers economic difficulties and food shortages cropping up repeatedly in light of this.

Blockchain intelligence and security firm Chainalysis has also reported on cryptocurrency thefts by North Korea. The firm noted that North Korea has carried out at least seven attacks on cryptocurrency platforms in 2021, resulting in the theft of almost $400 million. South Korean media outlets also reported that North Korea had stolen at least $1.7 billion from exchanges.

Governments concerned about cryptocurrency and cybercrimes

While most countries are preparing to form regulations on the crypto asset class, doubts remain about stopping cybercrimes related to cryptocurrencies. The Biden administration has put cybercrimes as one of the biggest issues about the asset class.

KYC and AML standards are one way to curb illicit activity, but the nature of the market has made it difficult to completely stamp out such activity. But in the case of cybercrimes like exchange theft, the onus will be on exchanges to bolster security and blacklist addresses.

The report comes as governments are mulling over how to tackle the crypto asset class and associated technologies. 2022 is gearing up to be an important year in this regard, with several statements from major economies on crypto regulation expected.


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