United Nations Says Stay Away From North Korean Crypto Conference

The United Nations has warned that attending a North Korean cryptocurrency conference in February is likely to constitute a sanctions violation, according to a report by Reuters on Jan. 15.

The report follows last week’s indictment of Ethereum Foundation researcher Virgil Griffith on charges of conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

Griffith traveled to North Korea for its first blockchain and cryptocurrency conference in April last year. While there, he and other conference attendees allegedly discussed cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies. The United States government contends that Griffith’s presence could have aided North Korea in skirting international sanctions. 

Prosecutors in the Griffith case say that he had been encouraging other United States citizens to attend the conference this year.

The conference website states that individuals from any country except for South Korea, Japan and Israel are allowed to visit, adding that visitor passports will not be stamped:

“We will provide a paper visa separated from your passport, so there will be no evidence of your entry to the country. Your participation will never be disclosed from our side unless you publicize it on your own.”

Sanctions experts say “don’t go”

North Korea has been subject to U.N. sanctions since 2006 over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Among other things, these sanctions oblige countries to prevent “financial transactions, technical training, advice, services or assistance,” if it could contribute to the missile programs or help to evade sanctions.

The alleged “explicit discussions of cryptocurrency for sanctions evasion and money laundering,” would seem to be in direct violation of this sanction.

As Cointelegraph previously reported, the North Korean-affiliated hacking group Lazarus has seemingly been deploying new viruses and malware to steal cryptocurrency. Lazarus has been targeting cryptocurrency users for some time, stealing over half a billion dollars worth, between early 2017 and October 2018.

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