United Nations sanctions experts have issued a warning to those thinking of attending an upcoming crypto conference in North Korea, suggesting this would likely constitute a breach of international sanctions against the rogue state.
The conference, scheduled to take place in February, has been flagged by experts in a confidential report due to be submitted to the U.N. Security Council, in which they warn developers not to attend the event on pain of prosecution, Reuters reported.
North Korea is thought to have generated as much as $2 billion through deploying “widespread and increasingly sophisticated” cyberattacks, heavily reliant on cryptocurrency as a mechanism for avoiding payment blocks.
According to previous reports submitted to the U.N., the money is being used by North Korea to fund weapons programs, the very same programs for which the country was sanctioned in the first place back in 2006.
Since the original sanctions were brought in, the United Nations has continued to ratchet up the pressure on North Korea, forcing the state to look into alternative methods of funding the development of its weapons programs.
North Korea appears keen to continue to develop its understanding of cryptocurrency, with the upcoming blockchain and crypto conference the latest example.
Over 80 organizations attended the first crypto conference in North Korea held in April 2019, resulting in one U.S. citizen being formally charged with violating sanctions against the country.
The latest report warns those considering attending the upcoming conference that they could be in line for the same fate, urging strongly against travel to the country.
According to the report, presentations at the conference are set to include “explicit discussions of cryptocurrency for sanctions evasion and money laundering.”
A spokesperson for the U.K. government said any form of support or participation in North Korea’s crypto activity would render individuals liable to prosecution for violating sanctions: “Supporting the DPRK’s use of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, risks violating the Security Council’s resolutions because it would unavoidably increase the DPRK’s ability to subvert sanctions and generate revenue for its weapons programs.”
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