Sunday, January 29, 2023

North Korea Starts Accepting Bitcoin – Maybe

North Korea Starts Accepting Bitcoin – Maybe

It looks like North Korea is accepting bitcoin now, at least according to popular service Coinmap.org.

Also read: Airbitz: Our App Is Great for Paying Bitcoin Taxes

North Korea Going Crypto?

Earlier today, Reddit user “Svensis” brought it to the community’s attention that Coinmap had added locations in Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital city, where Bitcoiners could use the cryptocurrency to pay for goods.

According to the map, there are three locations in the city that now accept bitcoin, including a bar and a restaurant.

Coinmap North Korea
source: Coinmap.org

As of press time, nothing else is known about these locations, or if this map update is accurate. Bitsonline reached out to SatoshiLabs, the owner of Coinmap, but has not yet received a response.

Even if this development is true, it is unsure how Bitcoin can actually work in North Korea. The country does not have internet access, instead implementing their own version of the “internet,” consisting of a computer network strictly managed by the government, only displaying state-approved information.

North Korea’s ‘Bitcoin War Chest’

This news comes just days after CNN reported on North Korean hackers attempting to steal large amounts of bitcoin on behalf of Kim Jong-un’s regime.

North Korea Kim Jong-un
“Please Supreme Leader, let us use bitcoin”

Cybersecurity firm FireEye reported on this activity, suggesting that cryptocurrency may appeal to the totalitarian regime as a measure to get around international sanctions placed on the country’s economy.

CNN quoted FireEye chief technology officer Bryce Boland as saying that, for North Korea, “attacks on cryptocurrency exchanges can be a great vehicle to obtain what is ultimately hard currency.”

FireEye said the hackers targeting three cryptocurrency exchanges in South Korea between May and July 2017, shortly after the US announced tighter sanctions against Pyongyang.

CNN noted that North Korean hackers also attacked South Korean exchanges between 2013 and 2015, stealing bitcoin worth US $88,000 based on market rates at the time.

Bitsonline will continue looking into this Coinmap update, and will report on further developments as they become available.

Would you spend bitcoin in Pyongyang, even if you could? Let us know.


Images via IBTimes, BusinessInsider, Coinmap.org

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