USA Worried: North Korea Stole $2 Billion in Crypto to Fund Nukes

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A leaked confidential report, leaked to Reuters, from the United Nations on the development of North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction program hints that they are using their cyber warfare unit – the Reconnaissance General Bureau – to conduct thefts on cryptocurrency exchanges and banks to the tune of over $2 billion – in order to fuel their weapons programmes.

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The report, covered by Michelle Nichols with reporting by Matt Spetalnick at Reuters – is likely to ignite American concerns about Bitcoin and other tokens being used for crime.

North Korea “…continued to enhance its nuclear and missile programmes although it did not conduct a nuclear test or ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile) launch,” said the report to the U.N. Security Council North Korea sanctions committee by independent experts monitoring compliance over the past six months.

When asked about the U.N. report a U.S. State Department spokeswoman told Reuters:

“We call upon all responsible states to take action to counter North Korea’s ability to conduct the malicious cyber activity, which generates revenue that supports its unlawful WMD and ballistic missile programs.”

Coindesk reported that previous reports have linked North Korea to major hacks at crypto exchanges.

“A South Korean agency pointed the finger at its neighbour back in  2018 saying that domestic exchanges had been attacked with the loss of billions of won. It was investigating at the time if the rogue nation was behind the massive hack of Japan’s Coincheck exchange, which led to the theft of more than $500 million in cryptocurrency.

More recently, North Korean hackers were said to have been targeting users of the UPbit exchange with a phishing email campaign.”

American President Donald Trump continues his bromance with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un with numerous meetings and deals for North Korea to halt their missile programmes, most recently in June when he became the first sitting U.S. president to set foot in North Korea at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between the two Koreas. 

The U.N. report was completed before last week’s missile launches by North Korea, but noted that “…missile launches in May and July enhanced its overall ballistic missile capabilities.”

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About Richard Kastelein

Founder and publisher of industry publication Blockchain News (EST 2015), a partner at ICO services collective Token.Agency ($750m+ and 90+ ICOs and STOs), director of education company Blockchain Partners (Oracle Partner) – Vancouver native Richard Kastelein is an award-winning publisher, innovation executive and entrepreneur. He sits on the advisory boards of some two dozen Blockchain startups and has written over 1500 articles on Blockchain technology and startups at Blockchain News and has also published pioneering articles on ICOs in Harvard Business Review and Venturebeat. Irish Tech News put him in the top 10 Token Architects in Europe.

Kastelein has an Ad Honorem - Honorary Ph.D. and is Chair Professor of Blockchain at China's first Blockchain University in Nanchang at the Jiangxi Ahead Institute of Software and Technology. In 2018 he was invited to and attended University of Oxford's Saïd Business School for Business Automation 4.0 programme.  Over a half a decade experience judging and rewarding some 1000+ innovation projects as an EU expert for the European Commission's SME Instrument programme as a startup assessor and as a startup judge for the UK government's Innovate UK division.

Kastelein has spoken (keynotes & panels) on Blockchain technology in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Barcelona, Beijing, Brussels, Bucharest, Dubai, Eindhoven, Gdansk, Groningen, the Hague, Helsinki, London (5x), Manchester, Minsk, Nairobi, Nanchang, Prague, San Mateo, San Francisco, Santa Clara (2x), Shanghai, Singapore (3x), Tel Aviv, Utrecht, Venice, Visakhapatnam, Zwolle and Zurich.

He is a Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Métis) whose writing career has ranged from the Canadian Native Press (Arctic) to the Caribbean & Europe. He's written occasionally for Harvard Business Review, Wired, Venturebeat, The Guardian and Virgin.com, and his work and ideas have been translated into Dutch, Greek, Polish, German and French. A journalist by trade, an entrepreneur and adventurer at heart, Kastelein's professional career has ranged from political publishing to TV technology, boatbuilding to judging startups, skippering yachts to marketing and more as he's travelled for nearly 30 years as a Canadian expatriate living around the world. In his 20s, he sailed around the world on small yachts and wrote a series of travel articles called, 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Seas' travelling by hitching rides on yachts (1989) in major travel and yachting publications. He currently lives in Groningen, Netherlands where he's raising three teenage daughters with his wife and sailing partner, Wieke Beenen.

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