One of the world’s oddest friendships is being rekindled this week, as former NBA star Dennis Rodman travels to North Korea to meet longtime buddy, Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un. However this time there’s a cryptocurrency angle — cannabis industry token PotCoin is sponsoring Rodman’s trip.
PotCoin itself has a serious mission to be an official payment mechanism for the legal marijuana industry. The industry’s ambiguous legal status in places like the U.S. (marijuana is legal in some states but remains illegal at federal level) makes it difficult for businesses to form banking relationships.
The PotCoin currency, initially a Litecoin fork, launched in January 2014. Like most digital currencies it’s been through ups and downs since then. However it has a thriving user community and is traded on at least 10 exchanges. At one stage there were even PotCoin ATMs. Its current market cap is $37.9 million USD.
North Korea’s Own Pot Culture
It’s a little-known fact, but marijuana is actually legal in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. It’s likely the only case where the DPRK is more liberal than its neighbor to the South, which strictly bans it.
Workers outside the capital Pyongyang reportedly enjoy unwinding with a joint, and the country is the third-largest producer of industrial hemp in the world.
Bitsonline has reached out to PotCoin’s spokespeople to enquire if this quirk has anything to do with its sponsorship deal.
Dennis Rodman and North Korea
This will be 56 year-old Rodman’s fifth trip to North Korea since he first went in 2013. His exact goal in visiting this year is a mystery, but he promised to reveal more about his mission upon returning to the U.S.:
— Dennis Rodman (@dennisrodman) June 13, 2017
Rodman’s seeming lack of interest in politics and international diplomacy makes his trips even more unusual. The relationship with Kim reportedly stems from the now-dictator’s love for NBA basketball when he was a student overseas.
However Rodman finds himself in a unique position — not only is he friends with Kim, he officially endorsed Donald Trump in last year’s presidential election.
@realDonaldTrump has been a great friend for many years. We don't need another politician, we need a businessman like Mr. Trump! Trump 2016
— Dennis Rodman (@dennisrodman) July 24, 2015
Trump has traded insults with the hardline Stalinist state since taking office. The very-personal exchange even culminated in North Korea threatening nuclear retaliation on New York City.
Many would argue Rodman’s four previous visits did not solve the fundamental political differences between North Korea and the U.S. On the other hand, he may have been instrumental in the release of U.S. citizen Kenneth Bae from a North Korean jail in 2013.
With curious timing, North Korea also released another U.S. citizen from custody this week — student Otto Warmbier. In yet another bizarre twist, it revealed that Warmbier had been in a coma since his trial a year ago.
What’s Dennis Rodman doing in North Korea? Care to speculate in the comments below?
Images via PotCoin.com