To skirt sanctions imposed on it by the United States, North Korea is planning to launch a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin according to a report today by VICE.
The new token which is still in its early stage of development was disclosed by Alejandro Cao de Benos, an individual delegate for the Committee for Cultural Relations for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).
Cao de Benos reportedly told the news agency that North Korea is working on a digital currency that is “more like bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies,” with the country now in the “phase of studying the goods that will give value to it [the cryptocurrency].”
The official was also clear concerning any thoughts that the planned digital currency would be backed by the country’s fiat currency, telling VICE that there are “no plans to digitize the [North Korean] won for now.”
Meanwhile, the latest revelation follows earlier allegations by the UN that North Korea was involved in cyberattacks that collected $2 billion worth of crypto and fiat from victims, claims that Kim Jong-un’s administration swiftly denied.
First of its Kind?
The emergence of cryptocurrency has understandably led to talks of a central bank-backed digital currency (CBDC) emerging across different countries, with even a few of such currencies launching in recent years.
However, the latest report that North Korea plans to launch a Bitcoin-like cryptocurrency purportedly backed by ‘goods that will give value to it,’ catches the eye since it stands a chance to become the first successful cryptocurrency of that kind.
For the records, Venezuela, another nation sanctioned by the U.S launched such a cryptocurrency (backed by the country’s oil and mineral reserves) and has not achieved results other than more economic turmoil.
Whether North Korea will go down that same lane or have plans that are hidden at this point, is a question that only time can answer.
Either way, the move also signals that the race for country-backed digital currencies is heating up even though there was no such thing as cryptocurrency roughly a decade ago. China, as we recently reported, is also planning to launch a digital currency.