UPDATED 23:38 EDT / JULY 27 2017


Besides developing nuclear weapons, North Korea is also mining bitcoin

In news that can only be described as out of left field, the hermit kingdom of North Korea has apparently joined the digital age and has started mining bitcoin in a serious way.

The new comes via a report this week from threat intelligence company Recorded Future Inc., which found that despite most of the country being cut off from the Internet, those that Kim Jong-un deems worthy of being allowed online are using the Internet to do things like use Gmail, check Facebook and, perhaps not surprisingly, view porn.

Strangely, state-sponsored bitcoin mining operations only started on May 17. The report claims that the date may be related to the spread of the WannaCry ransomware, which some claim originated in North Korea.

“It is not clear who is running the North Korean bitcoin mining operations; however, given the relatively small number of computers in North Korea coupled with the limited IP space, it is not likely this computationally intensive activity is occurring outside of state control,” the report noted.

Bitcoin mining is the process of adding transaction records to bitcoin’s public ledger of past transactions or blockchain. The process becomes more difficult over time, requiring more and more computing power – something North Korea is not exactly well-known for having.

The country, which is subject to a wide range of economic sanctions because of its belligerent development of a nuclear program, is desperate for all the funds in can raise, making bitcoin appealing to the ruling junta. That said, laundering any bitcoin the country mines or steals is now harder than it once was following the shutdown of bitcoin exchange BTC-e earlier this week and the arrest of a man alleged to operate the site.

Photo: zennie62/Flickr

A message from John Furrier, co-founder of SiliconANGLE:

Your vote of support is important to us and it helps us keep the content FREE.

One click below supports our mission to provide free, deep, and relevant content.  

Join our community on YouTube

Join the community that includes more than 15,000 #CubeAlumni experts, including Amazon.com CEO Andy Jassy, Dell Technologies founder and CEO Michael Dell, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger, and many more luminaries and experts.

“TheCUBE is an important partner to the industry. You guys really are a part of our events and we really appreciate you coming and I know people appreciate the content you create as well” – Andy Jassy