On 24 May, the Belfer Center published a Policy Brief saying that, with a cyber arsenal capable of reaching cryptocurrency platforms and users, North Korea has increasingly targeted virtual assets as a source of revenue for its regime. The UN Panel of Experts has estimated that North Korea stole approximately $316.4 million in virtual assets between January 2019 and November 2020. The focuses on 3 ways North Korea obtains cryptocurrencies, specifically cryptomining, cryptojacking, and fraudulent initial coin offerings (ICO). It warns that North Korea’s cryptocurrency operations offer an attractive and transferable model for other financially-isolated states and non-state actors.
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