People should not attend a North Korean Blockchain and Cryptocurrency event to be held in February 2020, according to United Nations sanctions experts, In a confidential report due to be submitted to the U.N. Security Council later this month, they flagged it as a likely sanctions violation.
The exclusive news, broken by Reuters, notes that the warning comes after independent UN experts told the council in August that North Korea generated an estimated $2 billion for its weapons of mass destruction programs using “widespread and increasingly sophisticated” cyberattacks to steal from banks and cryptocurrency exchanges.
In April last year, North Korea held its first blockchain and cryptocurrency conference organised by British cryptocurrency fundraiser Christopher Emms who now works for Bitcoin luminary Roger Ver at Bitcoin.com as a business developer – and Special Representative of the Foreign Ministry of North Korea and Spanish citizen, Alejandro Cao de Benós, who was arrested by the Spanish authorities in 2016 for arms trafficking.
After the first event in North Korea held in 2019, American authorities arrested 36-year-old cryptocurrency specialist Virgil Griffith for allegedly helping North Korea use blockchain technology in violation of US sanctions. He could face up to 20 years in prison. On January 7, 2020, according to a Forbes article, a Grand Jury has indicted Virgil Griffith and he will stand trial for travelling to North Korea to teach cryptocurrency and blockchain. He has a doctorate from the California Institute of Technology and works for the Ethereum Foundation, who are up in arms over the charges.
I refuse to take the convenient path of throwing Virgil under the bus, because I firmly believe that that would be wrong. I’m signing. Reasoning below.https://t.co/E44p5caeJO
— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) December 1, 2019
“As alleged, Virgil Griffith provided highly technical information to North Korea, knowing that this information could be used to help North Korea launder money and evade sanctions,” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said in a statement. “In allegedly doing so, Griffith jeopardized the sanctions that both Congress and the president have enacted to place maximum pressure on North Korea’s dangerous regime.”
North Korea has been under U.N. sanctions since 2006 over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. The 15-member Security Council has unanimously strengthened those measures over the years, prompting Pyongyang to look for alternative ways to make money.
The 2nd Pyongyang Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference will be held from February 22- 29, 2020.