The South Korean government is set to introduce a new bill aimed at tracking and freezing crypto assets that North Korea is allegedly using for its weapons program, according to local media outlet Korea JonngAng Daily. This bill, if implemented, will further enhance sanctions against the neighboring nation and provide measures to monitor and mitigate cryptocurrency assets stolen by North Korea through hacking activities.
In November 2022, the National Intelligence Service introduced the initial bill, which underwent revisions over a ten-month period involving collaborations with various government agencies. The revised bill now includes provisions specifically targeting the monitoring and mitigation of crypto assets stolen by North Korea through hacking activities.
The Growing Reliance on Crypto Assets
Amidst severe economic sanctions imposed by Western powers and allies, North Korea has increasingly turned to ill-gotten crypto assets and proceeds from illicit ventures to support its weapons program. The country has faced accusations from the United Nations and other Western superpowers of sponsoring hackers who exploit crypto projects to finance their illicit activities.
The United States has been able to trace several instances of crypto breaches back to North Korea-affiliated hackers. One notable example is the Ronin bridge exploit, through which over $600 million in assets were stolen. It is believed that these stolen crypto assets were used to fund North Korea’s weapons program.
Recognizing the grave threat posed by North Korea’s use of crypto assets for its weapons program, the South Korean government is determined to take decisive action. The new bill will enable authorities to track and freeze these crypto assets, effectively cutting off an important source of funding for North Korea’s illicit activities.
South Korea’s efforts to address the issue of North Korea’s illicit use of crypto assets are not limited to domestic actions. The government has been working closely with its international allies to share information and devise strategies to combat these activities. By collaborating with other nations, South Korea aims to strengthen global efforts to curb North Korea’s access to crypto assets.
In addition to tracking and freezing crypto assets, the revised bill also seeks to augment the existing economic sanctions against North Korea. By imposing stricter measures, the South Korean government aims to increase the pressure on North Korea and deter its use of crypto assets for illicit purposes.
The Road Ahead
The submission of this bill marks a significant step forward in addressing the issue of North Korea’s use of crypto assets for its weapons program. If approved and implemented, it will serve as a crucial tool in cutting off an important source of funding for the country’s illicit activities. By taking decisive action and collaborating with international allies, the South Korean government aims to effectively combat North Korea’s use of crypto assets and contribute to the broader efforts to promote international peace and security.