The recent plunge in the value of cryptocurrencies may have wiped millions off North Korean funds consisting of stolen crypto assets. The decline in the value of cryptocurrencies is believed to have affected Pyongyang’s ability to fund its weapons programs.
Stolen Crypto Assets and North Korean Weapons Programs
The recent crash in the crypto market may have wiped out millions of dollars worth of value from North Korea’s stolen cryptocurrency funds, according to digital asset investigators. The drop in the value of crypto assets could possibly threaten the country, which reportedly relies on stolen digital assets to fund its programs.
according to a Reuters reportReuters, citing unnamed South Korean government sources, the bear market is likely to complicate North Korea’s ability to finance its weapons programs. The South Korean Institute for Defense Analysis in Seoul estimates that Pyongyang has spent $620 million on missile tests this year alone.
Chainalysis, a blockchain analytics firm that allegedly monitors crypto assets allegedly stolen by North Korea-backed hackers, believes the value of stolen digital assets has plummeted from $105 million to $65 million since the beginning of the year.
Another researcher, TRM Labs analyst Nick Carlsen, believes that one of the cryptocurrencies stolen in the 2021 heist has plummeted 80% to 85% in value this year alone.
Law enforcement agencies around the world have claimed that North Korea is behind the Lazarus Group, the cybercrime organization alleged to have carried out the Ronin hack, but North Korean officials stationed at the country’s embassy in Britain rejects this accusation. The unnamed official said this is “complete fake news.”
It is believed that North Korea relies on hacking cryptocurrencies as global sanctions continue to hamper its ability to access funds through global financial markets. However, the report states that North Korea gets little to no fair market value for stolen cryptocurrency because it only uses brokers willing to convert or purchase cryptocurrency without question.
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