• The country wants to use cryptocurrency to escape sanctions.
  • The project is still at the early stages of development.

North Korea is engaged in creating its own cryptocurrency to bypass international sanctions, VICE News reports citing a representative for the regime. The coin will resemble Bitcoin, however, the project is still at the very early stages. 

According to Alejandro Cao de Benos, the official in charge of North Korea’s cryptocurrency conferences, the government has no plans to abandon fiat currency and digitalize the financial system.

“We are still in the very early stages in the creation of the token. Now we are in the phase of studying the goods that will give value to it. No plans to digitize the [North Korean] won for now,” he said.

North Korea's Embassy to the U.N. in New York would neither confirm nor deny Cao de Benos's claim. “I am not in a position to give you an answer,” an embassy spokesperson said before hanging up.

While the information is yet to be confirmed, some experts believe that the country has the expertise to create and successfully deploy its own digital coin. 

“North Korea has shown extensive interest in cryptocurrency, showing expertise in mining, hacking exchanges, cryptojacking, and more. There is absolutely no doubt that they have the technical expertise to develop and utilize almost any iteration of cryptocurrency, whether that means laundering a previously-established coin such as Bitcoin through foreign unregulated exchanges or creating a nationalized cryptocurrency for themselves,” Kayla Izenman, a research analyst at London-based think tank the Royal United Services Institute, commented.

Pyongyang has a point in creating its own coin instead of using Bitcoin. The authorities want to control the way it works and who gets access to it. Moreover, Bitcoin transactions are not anonymous, Bitcoin payments can be tracked relatively easily.

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