Crypto Assets Stolen from North Korea Amount to Millions

North Korea is the world’s leader in cryptocurrency crime. However, crypto analytic companies believe that DPRK hackers are finding it harder and harder to launder their stolen cryptocurrency assets.

With over 15 recorded cybercrime cases totaling $1.59 billion in stolen assets, North Korea is the first in the world for cryptocurrency crime. However, the country’s stolen cryptocurrency portfolio has lost millions due to the recent market turbulence.

The crypto market collapse that began in May destroyed hundreds of billions of dollars from the sector. Meanwhile, most of the assets plummeted by more than 70% from their peak. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) hackers have seen a considerable decline in most stolen cryptocurrency funds as a result.

North Korea in Search of Lost Coins

North Korea has employed 7,000 full-time hackers to conduct cyberattacks, use ransomware, and compromise crypto technology to make money. Lazarus, the notorious ransomware organization in the nation, was a part of the $600 million Ronin bridge breach in April.

In the present market, the value of the stolen Ether (ETH) has dropped to $230 million, a decrease of more than 60%. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) allegedly had around $170 million in unlaundered cryptocurrencies that had been taken in 49 attacks over four years. As of right now, the stolen money is only worth $63 million.

DPRK may have had some cryptocurrency holdings as far back as 2016. This suggested that the hackers did not move quickly to launder the stolen money. This may be partially related to the openness of blockchain technology. It commonly works with cryptocurrency exchanges and stablecoin issuers to freeze the stolen assets as soon as a breach happens. Even minor amounts of movement are frequently traced down.

Experts say North Korea is considering cryptocurrency as a substitute because of the numerous restrictions it is subject to from countries worldwide. This makes it impossible for them to trade or conduct business internationally. But just a small portion of the DPRK’s finances come from cryptocurrency. The rest comes from coal smuggling and dubious business dealings with China.