North Korean Citizens Study Cryptocurrencies at Pyongyang University

By in Blockchain News on November 26, 2017
  • North Korean engagement with bitcoin and cryptocurrency appears to be ever growing, with recent reports indicating that university students are now able to access courses on cryptocurrency in the Hermit Kingdom.
  • Despite mounting accusations that the North Korean administration has been actively stealing and mining bitcoins, the existence of the course is being cited as “the first hard evidence” of North Korea’s increasing fascination with cryptocurrency by media.

Samuel Haig writes (key points selected):

North Korean engagement with bitcoin and cryptocurrency appears to be ever growing, with recent reports indicating that university students are now able to access courses on cryptocurrency in the Hermit Kingdom.

Reports indicate that Pyongyang University, which is perceived to be the breeding ground for North Korea’s hackers by much of the international community, is now offering courses on cryptocurrencies.

Despite mounting accusations that the North Korean administration has been actively stealing and mining bitcoins, the existence of the course is being cited as “the first hard evidence” of North Korea’s increasing fascination with cryptocurrency by media.

The visit was arranged after Tenga contacted the sole foreign-funded school in North Korea, the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, offering to give a presentation on bitcoin at an upcoming finance conference scheduled to take place on the campus.

The conference, however, was canceled following President Donald Trump’s ban on U.S. citizens traveling to the Hermit Kingdom, leading to Pyongyang University contacting Mr. Tenga to invite him to teach the cryptocurrency course on campus.

Mr. Tenga reported that although most students spoke excellent English, were knowledgeable of the world outside of North Korea’s borders, and had independently heard of bitcoin – their understanding of bitcoin’s fundamentals such as the processes underpinning mining and trading was extremely lacking coming into the course.

Surprising many, Mr. Tenga returned from North Korea skeptical of the regime’s cryptocurrency capabilities.

Contradicting a July report by Recorded Future that claimed that bitcoin mining is taking place in North Korea, Mr. Tenga stated his skepticism surrounding the suggestion that the Hermit Kingdom is engaging in bitcoin mining.

Recorded Future have responded to Mr. Tenga’s assertions, with Priscilla Moriuchi stating that “[The university] was allowed to offer this course, bring in a foreign expert, and educate North Korean students because the government and senior leaders realized the value of bitcoin and cryptocurrency as a generator of funds for the regime and allowed it.”

Earlier this year, U.S. cybersecurity firm, Fireeye, accused North Korea of using spear phishing and dispersed malware to attack three South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges.

Read the full article: https://news.bitcoin.com/north-korean-citizens-study-cryptocurrencies-at-pyongyang-university/

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