North Korea may be a very closed-off and isolated country, but that doesn’t mean that isn’t open to foreign technology such as Bitcoin and Blockchain.
North Korea and Bitcoin
North Korea may be one of the most isolated countries on the globe but it is still trying to technologically adapt and compete with other nations. The country is currently under heavy sanctions from the United States and the European Union for conducting nuclear missiles tests and violating human rights. In the last couple of weeks, North Korea has further provoked and angered the US and other countries by launching a new type of ballistic missile near Japan.
Because of these sanctions, many North Korean banks are not able to properly process international bank transfers. Experts believe that North Korea may be able to bypass these sanctions by using decentralized cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Monero. An article by FireEye suggests that the North Korean government may be behind hacking attacks that targeted South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges.
Teaching Bitcoin and Blockchain in North Korea
On November 23, ExpressVPN published a report that described Federico Tenga’s journey of teaching Bitcoin and Blockchain technology to students in North Korea. Tenga was invited by the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST), to teach its computer science and finance students primarily about blockchain technology and its potential use cases.
Tenga described his experience:
As Computer Science students they definitely came to the class with a bit of background knowledge, and they’re pretty good programmers, but since they don’t have much access to the outside world they obviously haven’t experienced the same internet that a European Computer Science student has experienced.
As for teaching Bitcoin, it isn’t as complicated as it seems when the topic is broken down into little pieces. I simply divided it into four parts: i) how do digital signatures work, ii) what is proof of work, iii) how does the blockchain work, and iv) how to coordinate against double spending. After breaking it down, it’s not too difficult to grasp the concepts.
It is definitely interesting to see that an isolated and sheltered country like North Korea, which has a very limited number of internet users, is interested in exploring the potential use cases of technologies like Blockchain. Some experts believe that North Korea may use that knowledge in order to conduct hostile attacks against cryptocurrency infrastructure like exchanges and mining operations.
What are your thoughts on North Koreans decision to further explore Bitcoin and Blockchain technology? Do you think that Blockchain technology may benefit the government of North Korea? Let us know in the comments below!
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