The United Nations (UN) accused North Korea of stealing cryptocurrencies worth millions of dollars. Moreover, the report added that the totalitarian Asian state employed the stolen assets to fund missile and nuclear experiments.
Crypto Fuels Weapon Trials
According to a recent UN report cited by Reuters, North Korean hackers have carried out numerous attacks against at least three cryptocurrency exchanges between 2020 and mid-2021. The bad actors stole around $50 million worth of digital assets.
Last month, the analysis company – Chainalysis – went further, claiming that hackers embezzled more than $400 million in 2021. The perpetrators targeted mainly investment firms and centralized exchanges with various tactics, including malware, phishing, and social engineering.
Bitcoin accounted for approximately 20% of the stolen funds, while Ether made up more than half of the total loot with 58%. The remaining 22% belonged to other altcoins and ERC-20 tokens.
The UN pointed out that North Korea has launched nine ballistic missile experiments in January alone, the largest number of tests in the nation’s weapons history carried out in a single month. The international organization maintained that the stolen digital assets had funded those programs.
The UN Security Council urged North Korea to cease such experiments numerous times. Despite the crippling sanctions and the warnings, Pyongyang has continued to develop its nuclear and ballistic missile infrastructure:
“DPRK demonstrated increased capabilities for rapid deployment, wide mobility (including at sea), and improved resilience of its missile forces.”
China and Russia refused to sign the statement accusing North Korea of launching its missile trials.
Can Crypto Prevent Nuclear Wars?
The intensifying conflict between Russia and Ukraine and the disturbing rumors that North Korea has advanced with its missile programs are red flags showing that global peace might be endangered. Keeping in mind the recent scientific achievements and the acceleration of the weapons industry, it is safe to assume that nuclear attacks could play a crucial role in an eventual war.
More than a year ago, though, the Centre for Science and Security Studies (CSSS) argued that blockchain technology could enhance the trust between nations and even dismantle warheads.
Specifically, the backbone of the cryptocurrency industry enables authorized participants to “collectively manage encrypted data without a central authority.” Thus, information becomes transparent, creating a “technical foundation for cooperation among non-trusting parties.”
Put simply, the CSSS assumed that blockchain technology could reduce the risks of potential wars.