North Korea Using Crypto To Avoid Sanctions


Kim Jong-un is a global pariah. North Korea and North Koreans doubly so. The US has sanctions on North Korea over nuclear development. Cryptocurrencies, especially Bitcoin, are impervious to multilateral trade embargoes.

In a world with embargoes, capital controls, and sanctions, money-without-borders is not only king but the future. According to Boris Moyston, the United States is only 25% of the world economy and a lot of the planet is made up of the developing world as well as countries that either has government restrictions on personal and corporate wealth and spending or have trade embargoes and sanctions imposed on them by other countries or consortiums.

While Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has been using Bitcoin and counterfeit US Dollars for years as a way of buying and trading in the international market, they’re in the process of creating their own cryptocurrency as a way to avoid sanctions.

Many of us have only experienced centralized exchanges and know how important being able to prove your citizenship, your identification, and even the State you reside in is to Coinbase and similar exchanges; however, peer-to-peer direct sale and decentralized exchanges allow greater anonymity and allow countries like the DPRK to avoid being identified and labeled as an adversarial nation while also avoiding all the waste and trappings of brokers, money laundering, and physically moving anything anywhere. Cash and gold weigh a lot and are logistical nightmares.

If Pyongyang develops its own cryptocurrency, it’ll also benefit from owning and controlling its own Blockchain as well, allowing the autocratic nation to obfuscate and even manipulate its buys, sells, and trades.

According to The Hill, cryptocurrencies must adhere to four fundamental democratic principles that are the essence of cryptocurrencies to achieve any measure of adoption:

  • It must be resistant to censorship
  • It must be open to all participants without government permission.
  • It must be borderless.
  • It must be decentralized

Can an authoritarian government like North Korea issue a cryptocurrency that would appeal to all the preternaturally-libertarian ideologies of the crypto cypherpunks? It’s certainly antithetical to the ethos of Satoshi Nakamoto himself. However, if it’s limited to just FUBU (for us, by us), it can join the Venezuelan Petro as a tool to work around and through sanctions and embargoes.  “They would be strictly traditional government-issued money in digital form, using some of the same advanced technology that cryptocurrencies use.”