The recent plunge in the value of cryptocurrencies may have wiped out millions from North Korea’s fund comprised of stolen crypto assets. The diminishing value of cryptocurrencies is believed to be affecting Pyongyang’s ability to fund its weapons programs.
Stolen Crypto Assets and North Korea’s Weapons Programs
The recent crash of the crypto market may have wiped out millions of dollars in value from North Korea’s fund of stolen cryptocurrency, digital asset investigators have said. The drop in value of the crypto assets could supposedly threaten the country which reportedly relies on stolen digital assets to fund its programs.
According to a Reuters report, which quotes unnamed sources in the South Korean government, the bearish market will likely complicate North Korea’s ability to fund its weapons programs. The Seoul-based Korea Institute for Defense Analyses estimates that Pyongyang has spent as much as $620 million on missile tests this year alone.
The blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis, which is reportedly monitoring crypto assets that were allegedly stolen by North Korea-backed hackers, believes the value of the stolen digital assets has plunged from $105 million to $65 million since the start of the year.
Another investigator, Nick Carlsen, an analyst with TRM Labs, believes one of the cryptocurrencies that was stolen in a 2021 heist has seen its value plummet by between 80% and 85% this year alone.
While global law enforcement agencies have insisted that North Korea is behind the cyber-criminal organization Lazarus Group, which is accused of carrying out the Ronin hack, a North Korean official stationed at the country’s embassy in the United Kingdom has rejected the accusations. The unnamed official said this is “totally fake news.”
As global sanctions continue to inhibit its ability to access funding via global financial markets, North Korea is believed to have resorted to hacking cryptocurrencies. However, the report said North Korea hardly gets the fair market value for the stolen cryptocurrency because it only uses brokers that are willing to convert or buy cryptocurrencies without asking questions.
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