UN Warns Public Not To Attend North Korea Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference 2020

Attendance could count as a violation of sanctions

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People should not attend a North Korean Blockchain and Cryptocurrency event to be held in February 2020, according to United Nations sanctions experts, In a confidential report due to be submitted to the U.N. Security Council later this month, they flagged it as a likely sanctions violation.

The exclusive news, broken by Reuters, notes that the warning comes after independent UN experts told the council in August that North Korea generated an estimated $2 billion for its weapons of mass destruction programs using “widespread and increasingly sophisticated” cyberattacks to steal from banks and cryptocurrency exchanges.

In April last year, North Korea held its first blockchain and cryptocurrency conference organised by British cryptocurrency fundraiser Christopher Emms who now works for Bitcoin luminary Roger Ver at Bitcoin.com as a business developer – and Special Representative of the Foreign Ministry of North Korea and Spanish citizen, Alejandro Cao de Benós, who was arrested by the Spanish authorities in 2016 for arms trafficking.

After the first event in North Korea held in 2019, American authorities arrested 36-year-old cryptocurrency specialist Virgil Griffith for allegedly helping North Korea use blockchain technology in violation of US sanctions. He could face up to 20 years in prison. On January 7, 2020, according to a Forbes article, a Grand Jury has indicted Virgil Griffith and he will stand trial for travelling to North Korea to teach cryptocurrency and blockchain. He has a doctorate from the California Institute of Technology and works for the Ethereum Foundation, who are up in arms over the charges.

I refuse to take the convenient path of throwing Virgil under the bus, because I firmly believe that that would be wrong. I’m signing. Reasoning below.https://t.co/E44p5caeJO

— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) December 1, 2019 

“As alleged, Virgil Griffith provided highly technical information to North Korea, knowing that this information could be used to help North Korea launder money and evade sanctions,” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said in a statement. “In allegedly doing so, Griffith jeopardized the sanctions that both Congress and the president have enacted to place maximum pressure on North Korea’s dangerous regime.”

North Korea has been under U.N. sanctions since 2006 over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. The 15-member Security Council has unanimously strengthened those measures over the years, prompting Pyongyang to look for alternative ways to make money.

The 2nd Pyongyang Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference will be held from February 22- 29, 2020.

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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 2500 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 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. He has 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 at over 50 events in 30+ citiies. He is a Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Métis) whose writing career has ranged from the Canadian Native Press (Arctic) to the Caribbean & Europe.  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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