North Korea’s Crypto Losses Set To Hamper Its Nuclear Weapons Program

A Reuters report has it that the crypto market crash that has plunged the value of North Korea’s stores of stolen crypto could potentially jeopardize funding for its weapons programs.

North Korea has been linked to numerous cyberattacks targeting crypto, including the $552m hack of play-to-earn game Axie Infinity’s Ronin bridge in March.

In February, a leaked United Nations report suggested that North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs were funded by crypto.

The country turned to digital assets came amid harsh sanctions.

But the country’s crypto gains from the bull run now look to be severely depleted.

Two unnamed South Korean government sources told Reuters that this could affect how Pyongyang funds its weapons programs.

Global sanctions imposed on North Korea due to its nuclear program have made it especially difficult for the hermit kingdom to access other sources of funding.

Though exact details are difficult to come by, blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis told Reuters that North Korea’s old crypto holdings, from hacks between 2020 and 2021, have declined from a value of $170 million at the start of the year to around $65 million at current prices.

Meanwhile, the haul from the attack on the Ronin network, the Ethereum sidechain used by Axie Infinity, is now likely to be worth only a third of its original value.

Today, the leading cryptocurrencies continue to face extreme volatility.

Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, briefly dipped below $20,000 early Wednesday morning, while Ethereum is down nearly 8%.

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