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North Korea is developing its own cryptocurrency

North Korea is in the early stages of developing its own cryptocurrency, a representative for the regime told VICE News. The move is in a bid to avoid international sanctions and circumvent the US-dominated global financial system, the report added.

The digital currency, which is yet to be named, will be “more like bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies,” Alejandro Cao de Benos, the official in charge of North Korea’s cryptocurrency conferences and a special delegate for the Committee for Cultural Relations for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, told Vice News.

In April, the East Asian country conducted its first blockchain and cryptocurrency conference, bringing in crypto experts and foreign companies to explore business opportunities. It is now bracing to conduct a second conference dubbed “Pyongyang Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference,” which will be held in its capital in February 2020, and which Cao de Benos is coordinating, its official website showed.

Though anyone can apply, applicants must be pre-approved before they can attend the gathering, according to its website. The conference is described as offering an “exclusive environment of confidentiality and contacts with the highest government officials and engineers.”

“We are still in the very early stages in the creation of the token. Now we are in the phase of studying the goods that will give value to it,” Cao de Benos told Vice, adding that there are “no plans to digitize the [North Korean] won for now.”

Cao de Benos also said some foreign companies have signed contracts with the North Korean government to develop blockchain systems in areas like education, medicine and finance. However, he said none of the “big names” attending the conference or signing the contracts could be revealed, “due to sanctions and fake news.”

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