North Korea successfully using cryptos to evade US sanctions
North Korea is likely making extensive use of blockchain and cryptocurrency technology to evade sanctions. Experts suggest that North Korea is probably trading in existing cryptocurrencies while also creating its own, allowing them to “exploit international financial institutions that have correspondent banking relations with the United States.” Mirroring traditional money-laundering techniques, North Korea is able to “wash” cryptos to make it appear that transactions are conducted between legitimate entities and through legitimate sources. By creating its own wallet services, North Korea could also store, receive, and send cryptocurrencies through European online wallets that do not require or include Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and are not under U.S. sanctions. The U.S. has been increasing efforts to track and end this activity, and has estimated that the country may be earning as much as $200 million per year through these channels. One former NSA official stated that the scale of these practices was completely unknown as of early 2018.