North Korea appears to be stepping up efforts to circumvent sanctions by performing an end-run around the banking sector, instead using cryptocurrency to raise funds and make purchases, researchers have warned.
Conducted by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), a UK-based defence and security think tank, the study warned that North Korea has recently expanded its attempts to work around international sanctions — including those related to its nuclear proliferation activities — via “the exploitation of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin”.
It said use cases included short-term fundraising, long-term stockpiling of financial reserves and paying for goods and services that are forbidden by international sanctions.
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