North Koreans ‘Can Own Crypto,’ Pyongyang to Host Crypto Conference

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 1 min read

North Korea will host a second “international blockchain and cryptocurrency conference” in February 2020. And a source with close links to Pyongyang says that North Koreans can own cryptocurrency and has developers “working on crypto wallets.”

Source: iStock/Goddard_Photography

The 2020 event is being co-organized by the Korean Friendship Association (KFA), a Spain-based group that champions pro-North Korean government causes.

The KFA’s Alejandro Cao de Benes responded to a question on Twitter, stating that North Koreans are allowed to own cryptocurrencies, and that cryptocurrency wallets were currently in development in the country.

Cao de Benes also hinted that the country may be working on creating an exchange – although similar claims were made over a year ago.

The week-long event will be held in the capital’s Pyongyang Science and Technology Complex from February 22 to 29, and – as previously promised by its organizers – appears to be larger in scale than this year’s event, held in April, which the KFA claims was attended by 100 participants from around the world.

Per an English-language booking website, attendees at the event will be able to rub shoulders with “[high-ranking] government officials and engineers,” and the forthcoming conference will have “[a bigger] audience and a wider scope” than this year’s event.

Tickets to the conference cost 3,400 euros each, but – like this year’s event – will be off-limits to South Korean, Japanese and Israeli passport holders.

The country recently hit back at what it calls “unfounded” claims by the UN, who last month said that the rogue state has been systematically raiding cryptocurrency exchanges at locations around the world, amassing some USD 2 billion – and using the funds to fuel its long-range missile and nuclear programs.

Both the United States and Seoul believe the country’s army contains a special sub-unit of “20 to 30 elite cyber warriors” who specialize in stealing cryptocurrency from exchanges.