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Is North Korea Developing Its Own Crypto Exchange?

Is North Korea Developing Its Own Crypto Exchange?

North Korea has recently been talking not just about hacking attacks in the crypt world. It was recently announced that the northern part of the Korean Peninsula will hold an international blockchain conference this October. Now there are rumors that the country is currently developing a crypto exchange. 

On August 27, South Korean news site Yonhab reported that a North Korean technology company is currently developing a crypto exchange. This information comes from a report from a research unit of the Korea Development Bank (KDB). It said that the company called “Chosun Expo” is working on a crypto-exchange for Bitcoin trading.

Without internet, nothing works

Due to numerous sanctions imposed on North Korea for its nuclear and missile programs, speculation about the country’s crypto interest is mounting. For example, the North Korean regime wants to be interested in the key “features of crypto-currencies, including anonymity, the difficulty of tracing funds and availability,” the report said.

However, the crypto-industry is likely to thrive only on difficult North Korean soil. So there is neither a blockchain infrastructure in the form of high-performance computers nor sufficient power and Internet access. Similarly, another South Korean news portal, Speconomy, said on the basis of the report that the Internet in North Korea is still so underdeveloped that it “will dampen the development of the virtual money industry.”

In April, Chinese tourism company Koryo Tours, which offers guided tours to North Korea, announced the launch of ICO’s “a new blockchain-based cryptocurrency exclusively for use in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”. The head of cyber section of the DPRK, Ri Hyon A, is extremely optimistic.

Unfortunately, it is not known if the ICO was a success and indeed could become the “foreigner standard currency”.

North Korean Citizens Left In The Dark

The KDB report further claims that average North Koreans “seem to have little knowledge of cryptocurrencies”. Thus, recently escaped North Koreans have been unable to comment on the development or use of cryptocurrencies in their country. The University of Science and Technology in Pyongyang conducted a course on cryptocurrencies, bitcoin in particular and blockchain technology last November. According to Yonhab, Federico Tenga, an Italian Bitcoin entrepreneur, led this crypto course. He explained his experience with North Korean knowledge on the subject:

“The participants of the lectures were a mix of computer scientists and financial students, but sometimes some of the other professors from the university came to learn about the subject.”