North Korea Reportedly Developing Own Cryptocurrency

North Korea is in the early stages of developing its own cryptocurrency in a bid to avoid crippling international sanctions and circumvent the U.S.-dominated global financial system, a representative for the regime told VICE News.

Pyongyang has long shown an interest in cryptocurrencies, with the country recently bringing together homegrown experts with foreign companies at its first-ever blockchain and cryptocurrency conference in April, VICE News writes.

The digital currency, which doesn’t even have a name yet, will be “more like bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies,” said Alejandro Cao de Benos, the official in charge of North Korea’s cryptocurrency conferences, and a special delegate for the Committee for Cultural Relations for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

“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,” said Cao de Benos, adding that there are “no plans to digitize the [North Korean] won for now.”

Close watchers of the regime’s use of cryptocurrencies told VICE News that North Korea already has the expertise needed to build and deploy its own cryptocurrency that could help the North Koreans avoid sanctions.

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