North Korea, which is believed to be using cryptocurrencies to fund weapons of mass destruction, will hold its second cryptocurrency and blockchain conference in February 2020.
The first conference was held in April this year and it attracted 100 persons. The event was declared a success by the country’s citizens and a bigger conference was promised.
The planned conference is being sponsored by the Spanish Korean Friendship Association and organized by the North’s Committee for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries.
According to the event’s official website, “top ten market cap cryptocurrencies” are helping on the technical side, though it is unclear from the announcement what that means exactly.
Similar to the original conference, restrictions seem to be liberalized. Participants from the U.S are again welcome and digital gadgets can be brought in for the event. Internet access is also available.
The conference will run through February 24 and 25 and be hosted at the Pyongyang Science and Technology Complex, a weird atom-shaped structure opened by Kim Jong-un in 2016. On the 26th, private business meetings could be arranged.
The country has been accused of stealing around $2 billion cryptocurrencies and utilizing them in supporting development of its weapons.
South Korean and Japanese exchanges have been identified as potential targets, with phishing being used to infringe user accounts.
More generally, the borderless nature of cryptocurrency has raised issues that the North may use crypto to bypass global restrictions on trade and money exchanges.
Apart from possibly assisting the North achieve cryptocurrency advances, the even may additionally have propaganda value, both promoting a sense of openness while sending a warning to the West.
Besides, conferences provide a route for North Korea to promote tourism, with the 2020 cryptocurrency event including an extensive travel itinerary, including a tour of the Tower of Juche Idea and a two-day ski trip.