25.06.2021

North Korea Plans Bitcoin-Like Cryptocurrency to Sidestep Sanctions

In a Wednesday report from Vice, Alejandro Cao de Benos – the official managing North Korea’s cryptocurrency conferences and a special delegate for the nation’s Committee for Cultural Relations – said that the as-yet-unnamed token is expected to be “more like bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.”

North Korea is working on building its own cryptocurrency to get around the tough international sanctions.

Development is apparently still in its early stages and follows a similar project from Venezuela, which launched its oil-backed petro token last year – also to avoid U.S.-led sanctions.

Like the petro, the new crypto may be pegged to an asset within North Korea. “Now we are in the phase of studying the goods that will give value to it”, Cao de Benos said, adding that there are “no plans” to peg a cryptocurrency to the North Korean won.

As reported, the nation will hold its second blockchain and cryptocurrency conference in February 2020.

North Korea has also been linked with major hacks that stole possibly $2 billion from banks and cryptocurrency exchanges (although the regime denies it).

Such activity suggests that Pyongyang does have the technological expertise to develop its own cryptocurrency.

Vice said the North Korean embassy to the U.N. in New York would neither confirm nor deny the news.

Binance to Launch Fiat-to-Crypto OTC for Chinese Yuan in October

Cryptocurrency giant Binance plans to roll out its over-the-counter (OTC) trading platform for Chinese yuan in October.

Chinese market targets

Yi He, Binance co-founder and chief marketing officer (CMO) announced the news at a media session on Sept. 17, as Binance confirmed to Cointelegraph on Sept. 19.

According to the CMO, Binance’s new OTC onramp is scheduled to launch next month and only targets Chinese market as the current plan envisions supporting the Chinese renminbi only, a Binance spokesperson said.

To date, Binance has already set up an OTC trading desk that provides users with large transactions service, as noted by the representative. In April 2019, Binance saw an immense surge in OTC trading, reportedly recording nearly $80 million in profits.

OTC has been the main way to buy BTC with fiat in China

China has been one of the most sceptical global jurisdictions towards Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies since the Chinese government banned crypto trading in Sept. 2017. Since then, OTC trades have largely become the principal method to buy Bitcoin with fiat money in China, with local investors purchasing stablecoins such as Tether (USDT) via OTC and converting them to other crypto.

OTC is a type of trading that involves a direct deal between two interested parties and is usually conducted without supervision over exchanges.

Binance prepares the ground

Meanwhile, Binance recently initiated its first move in China since the company’s departure from the country amid the crypto trading ban back in 2017. On Sept. 17, the China-founded exchange participated in a $200 million funding round for Beijing-based Mars Finance, a local crypto and blockchain publication.

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