According to a Vice News report on Sept. 18, the project is designed to help the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) evade international sanctions and find a way around “the U.S.-dominated global financial system.”
Alejandro Cao de Benos, the official in charge of North Korea’s crypto conferences, said its yet-to-be-named digital currency will be “more like Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.”
Development is apparently still in its early stages and follows a similar project from Venezuela, which launched its oil-backed petro token in 2018 – also to avoid U.S.-led sanctions.
Like the petro, the new crypto may be pegged to an asset within North Korea. “Now we are in the phase of studying the goods that will give value to it,” Cao de Benos said, adding that there are “no plans” to peg a cryptocurrency to the North Korean won.
As reported, Cao de Benos claims some foreign companies even signed contracts with the North Korean government to develop blockchain systems in areas like education, medicine and finance. However, he added that none of the “big names” attending the conference or signing contracts could be revealed, “due to sanctions and fake news.”
Last week, Cao de Benos announced the second blockchain and cryptocurrency conference scheduled for February 2020, which again will exclude journalists from attending, though U.S. citizens are welcome.
North Korea has also been linked with major hacks that stole possibly $2 billion from banks and cryptocurrency exchanges (although the regime denies it). Such activity suggests that Pyongyang does have the technological expertise to develop its own cryptocurrency.