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UN Warns Against Participating in North Korean Cryptocurrency Conference, Risk not Limited to Sanction Violations

North Korea:  An expert on UN sanctions has warned that a report due to be submitted to the UN Security Council will be flagging the upcoming cryptocurrency conference in North Korea as a “likely sanctions violation.” This comes after independent experts told the UN Security Council in August that North Korea generated an estimated $2 billion (US) for weapons programs through stolen funds. Those funds were obtained through cyber-attacks on financial institutions around the world, including cryptocurrency exchanges. Last year, following North Korea’s first blockchain and cryptocurrency conference, an American who participated was charged with violating sanctions. 

Analyst Notes

The risk of being charged with sanctions violations is not the only risk that this conference poses. While the conference was started with the claim that it was to strengthen the cryptocurrency community through information sharing, the reality of the situation is that the conference was likely a hotbed of information operations by North Korean operatives. A collection of experts in the fields of blockchain and cryptocurrencies provides North Korea with an invaluable source of information. Not only does it provide them the chance to steal information, but it also allows the North Koreans the opportunity to develop a current list of targets for phishing campaigns to begin intrusions into organizations with close ties to blockchain and cryptocurrency. More information can be found at