Report finds mining activity and Bitcoin exchange development in North Korea

A report by South Korea’s state-run Korea Development Bank (KDB) suggests that North Korea has been mining cryptocurrencies, according to local media. In addition, a technology firm in the country is developing an exchange platform for bitcoin, while average citizens of North Korea have little knowledge of cryptocurrency, the report claims.

A research unit of South Korea’s state-run Korea Development Bank (KDB) has compiled a report suggesting that North Korea has been mining cryptocurrencies, Yonhap News Agency detailed Monday.

Citing the report, the news outlet wrote:

North Korea appears to have tried to mine cryptocurrencies on a small scale.

“The KDB unit said North Korea may have tried to mine bitcoin between May and July last year, but the attempt appears to have been unsuccessful,” the publication added.

The report further describes that North Korea seems interested in the defining “characteristics of cryptocurrencies, including anonymity, difficulties of tracing money and cashability.”

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Without providing additional details, the news outlet quoted the report claiming that:

A North Korean technology firm, named Chosun Expo, is developing and selling a market-exchange platform for bitcoin.

According to the KDB unit, it will take time for the cryptocurrency industry to expand in North Korea, due to the lack of a blockchain infrastructure, high-performance computers, electric power, and networks to carry the internet, South Korean media Speconomy conveyed. “The current situation in which only a few layers of the Internet can be connected will dampen the development of the virtual currency industry.”

In April, Koryo Tours, a travel company specializing in tourism to North Korea, announced “the creation and release of a new blockchain-based cryptocurrency exclusively for use in the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] tourism industry — the Koryo Coin.” The company also said that it was launching an initial coin offering (ICO) of this token.

The KDB report further asserts that average North Koreans “appear to have little knowledge of cryptocurrencies,” Yonhap noted. Citing “recent interviews with North Korean defectors,” the report claims that “all of them replied that they don’t know about cryptocurrencies in the North.”

In November last year, the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology gave a course on cryptocurrency, bitcoin, and blockchain technology. It was led by Federico Tenga, an Italian bitcoin entrepreneur. “The attendees of the lectures were a mix of computer science and finance students, but sometimes also some of the other professors of the university came to learn about the subject,” Tenga told NK News. The publication added that “according to Tenga, the students were aware of bitcoin but showed limited knowledge of the crypto-currency.”

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