North Korea is in the early stages of developing its own cryptocurrency, a new report has revealed. The crypto, which has yet to be named, will mainly be used by the East Asian nation to avoid international sanctions and circumvent the traditional financial system which the U.S. has dominated for long.
Quoting a representative of the ruling regime, Vice News reported that North Korea hopes to model its crypto after Bitcoin. This is different from other countries that have ventured into the crypto arena which seek to digitize their national currency. North Korea won’t be digitizing its won, Alejandro Cao de Benos, the official in charge of North Korea’s cryptocurrency conferences told the news outlet.
“We are still in the very early stages in the creation of the token. Now we are in the phase of studying the goods that will give value to it,” he stated.
The government has declined from divulging any more information on the project, with the North Korean embassy in New York neither denying nor confirming the report.
The country has already been gathering its brightest minds in the field of blockchain technology to build its crypto. Kayla Izenman, a researcher at the Royal United Services Institute in London told the publication, “There is absolutely no doubt that they have the technical expertise to develop and utilize almost any iteration of cryptocurrency, whether that means laundering a previously-established coin such as Bitcoin through foreign unregulated exchanges or creating a nationalized cryptocurrency for themselves.”
While this would be the first official venture into crypto for the country, North Korea has long been linked to cryptos, but in a bad way. The country has been accused several times of being behind hackers that have amassed billions of dollars from their heists. However, the country has denied such reports, with a government official recently accusing the U.S. and other hostile forces of peddling the lies.
Cao de Benos further revealed that some foreign companies have signed contracts with the North Korean government to develop blockchain systems for various industries including education, finance and healthcare. However, he couldn’t reveal the names “due to sanctions and fake news.”
And while turning to a crypto may be a noble idea and one that North Koreans can benefit from, a state-run crypto may not be of much help. Similar experiments have proven that having the state run a crypto project could have disastrous results, as has been the case with Venezuela’s Petro crypto. The project has become more of a joke, despite the government’s efforts to force it on the people.
According to the report, North Korea wants the crypto to be more like Bitcoin and not a centralized state-run project. However, it’s unlikely the government intends to do this as it would relinquish control of its monetary system. Moreover, why create a currency that’s like Bitcoin, when the real Bitcoin already exists and is working perfectly?