According to Reuters, travelers are being warned against visiting North Korea for its prospective Crypto Conference. The warning comes from none other than the UN, and says that travel to the country for this purpose could easily constitute a sanctions violation.
North Korea, whose crypto conference website was down at time of writing, has said that it welcomes people from most countries and that it will not stamp passports.
“Participation Will Never Be Disclosed”
Another outlet quoted the website as saying:
[blockquote] “We will provide a paper visa separated from your passport, so there will be no evidence of your entry to the country. Your participation will never be disclosed from our side unless you publicize it on your own.”
At time of writing, nothing but a blank page appeared at nkcryptocon.com.
North Korea has been a hub of blockchain intrigue lately, with the recent capturing of Virgil Griffith, who is said to have helped the North Korean government use cryptocurrency to violate sanctions.
Griffith is charged with violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which gives the government power to impose sanctions, among other things.
He reportedly encouraged westerners to attend this year’s conference.
Attendance at the event can be problematic because of the UN’s demand that no one provide “financial transactions, technical training, advice, services or assistance” to countries like North Korea, who refuse to fall in line with numerous customs at the United Nations.
North Korea has reportedly engaged in cryptocurrency mining in the past.
The rogue hermit kingdom has also been accused of stealing billions of won worth of cryptocurrency in various hacks attributed to it.
South Korea says that in 2017, North Korea hacked numerous exchanges.While he wouldn’t name the exchanges, the information was revealed in a report to South Korean parliament by Kim Byung-kee, a member of the South Korean intelligence community.
North Korea has also reportedly used cryptocurrency, including Monero, as a way to skirt international sanctions and settle remittances. The country struggles to do basic business with countries other than China, who provides most of its goods and its oil pipeline. China also provides North Korea the country’s single internet connection.
Speaking to Reuters, a British government representative said:
[blockquote] “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.”
It’s not necessarily that North Korea needs the help, but giving it to them can still be considered an international crime.