Expert from intelligence industry has disclosed an information that North Korea may have as much as $210 million worth from Bitcoin.
The said huge amount is part of strategy the NoKor government to dilute the impact of stiff international sanctions over its nuclear and missiles program.
The said huge haul of an estimated 11,000 Bitcoins was disclosed by Priscilla Moriuchi, a former US National Security Agency officer, in an interview with Radio Free Asia.
If the regime had monetized them when their price peaked in mid-December, it would have made $210 million, although that value had fallen to $120m by January.
Furthermore, Moriuchi, who now works for cyber threat intelligence firm Recorded Future, believes the cryptocurrency was acquired through mining or hacking.
Financial security experts believe North Korea is capitalizing virtual coin markets to inject cash into its flagging economy, which is struggling under the weight of severe international sanctions.
“I would bet that these coins are being turned into something – currency or physical goods – that are supporting North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programme,” Ms Moriuchi told Vox.com.
The reclusive regime has already been blamed for some of the world’s most audacious cyber crimes.
In December, the US confirmed that it was behind May’s WannaCry ransomware attack, which affected more than 230,000 computers in over 150 countries.
North Korean hackers have also been accused of plundering the Bank of Bangladesh in 2015, transferring about $81 million into bank accounts in the Philippines.
In December suspected North Korean hackers targeted a South Korean cryptocurrency exchange, stealing at least $7m worth of digital money and forcing one company, Youbit, into bankruptcy.
For so long, Pyongyang consistently denies all hacking allegations.
However, cyber security experts and defectors have claimed that promising students are handpicked from prestigious universities to join Bureau 121, the hermit kingdom’s shadowy cyberwarfare agency.
In November, it was reported that the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology was teaching a specialized cryptocurrency course.
Experts have warned that a cryptocurrency, with its anonymity, loose regulations and ability to be converted into hard currency, also offers rogue regimes like North Korea more opportunities to profit from crime.