North Korea Planning Second Blockchain Conference in February

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North Korea plans to host a second blockchain summit following the apparent success of its inaugural one in 2019. The communist state, which has been accused on multiple occasions of sponsoring hacking groups in order to steal crypto to fund its nuclear weapons program, will host the 2020 Pyongyang Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference over two days in February, with sightseeing and skiing part of the week-long charm offensive program. According to the conference’s website, the success of the first summit “demanded to organize a second conference with even more audience and wider scope.”

When a Conference is Just Not Enough

The 2019 Pyongyang Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference took place in April and marked one of the extremely rare occasions where international visitors were allowed into the famously secretive state. North Korea declared the conference a success, with the number of visitors, thought to be about 100, clearly meeting organizers’ expectations (for comparison, the Malta Blockchain Summit regularly sees around 5,000-8,000 attendees) and whetting their appetites for a bigger conference in 2020. The summit, organized by the Committee for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries, will be held at the Pyongyang Science and Technology Complex over the 24-25th February, although attendees have a full week-long package including sightseeing, a trip to the demilitarized zone, and a stay in the “5***** Masikryong Ski Resort”. This will allow visitors a chance to relax and unwind after the event and take advantage of North Korea’s famed hospitality. Or try and forget about what they’ve just witnessed.

No Details, No Journalists, €3,400 fee

No details on the conference itself have yet been released, meaning that interested parties are expected to pay the €3,400 fee without knowing who will be there and who is talking on what subject. Applying for tickets is not simply a process of buying your ticket either – applicants must send a passport photo along with “…your full address, telephone and short CV-Resume (Stating studies, position and work/company).” All perfectly normal. Journalists are banned in order to “…preserve the confidentiality of the participants, foreign and local companies involved…”, meaning that impartial coverage will be about as likely as a conference with 100 visitors being an objective “success”.