The South Korean government is taking significant steps to combat North Korea’s use of cryptocurrency for its weapons program. According to local media outlet Korea JonngAng Daily, the government plans to submit a bill that will enable them to track and freeze crypto assets used by North Korea.
The Evolution of the Bill
Originally introduced by the National Intelligence Service in November 2022, the bill has undergone revisions under the orders of President Yoon Suk Yeon. This process has involved collaboration with various government agencies and has taken around ten months to reach its current form.
One notable inclusion in the revised bill is provisions for the monitoring and mitigation of cryptocurrency assets stolen by North Korea through hacking activities. This signals the government’s commitment to not only prevent illicit use of crypto assets but also to penalize and recover stolen funds.
A Response to Increased Dependence on Illicit Crypto Assets
North Korea is already facing severe economic sanctions from Western powers and allies. In response, the country has increasingly turned to ill-gotten crypto assets and proceeds from illicit ventures to sustain its weapons program. This reliance on cryptocurrency has drawn criticism and accusations from the United Nations and other Western superpowers.
The United States has traced multiple crypto breaches back to North Korea-affiliated hackers. One prominent example is the Ronin bridge exploit, which resulted in the theft of over $600 million in assets. These incidents highlight the extent to which North Korea utilizes cryptocurrency to finance their illicit activities.
The Role of Sanctions
The South Korean government’s proposed bill seeks to augment the existing sanctions against North Korea. By tracking and freezing crypto assets, the government aims to disrupt the flow of funds that support the country’s weapons program. This serves as both a deterrent and a mechanism for putting pressure on North Korea to cease its illicit activities.
The Importance of International Collaboration
Addressing North Korea’s use of cryptocurrency requires international collaboration. As such, the South Korean government has engaged with various government agencies to develop an effective framework for monitoring and seizing crypto assets. By working together with other nations, it becomes possible to have a more significant impact on North Korea’s illicit financial activities.
The introduction of this bill by the South Korean government showcases their determination to tackle the issue of North Korea’s use of cryptocurrency for its weapons program. By enabling the tracking and freezing of crypto assets, the government aims to disrupt the flow of funds that support North Korea’s illicit activities. With international collaboration and a robust framework in place, there is hope for curbing North Korea’s dependence on cryptocurrency for nefarious purposes.