Dec. 6 (UPI) — North Korea could be expanding its social media monitoring operations to track developments in cryptocurrency and blockchain, according to a South Korean press report.
NK Economy reported Friday the Twitter account of Marine Chain Platform has begun to follow two news services specializing in bitcoin: CoinDesk and Cointelegraph.
Marine Chain was linked to several North Koreans by international experts and is widely known in the industry as a North Korean cryptocurrency scam.
In September 2019, the United Nations Security Council said in its North Korea sanctions report North Korea established Marine Chain in Hong Kong in April 2018.
The North Korean shell company claimed to sell tokens that would allow buyers to digitize ownership of international vessels. Tokens would be transferred across parties and income generated from ships would be shared, according to the business model.
Marine Chain’s initial funding target was estimated to be $20 million and “marine chain tokens” could be acquired through other cryptocurrencies, including Ethereum, according to NK Economy.
U.N. findings indicate the owner of Marine Chain was listed as Julien Kim. NK Economy reported Julien Kim has also been active under the name Tony Walker and that the latter name is being used on a LinkedIn Profile promoting Marine Chain.
The profile of Tony Walker shows him as located in the “Greater Denver Area” and describes him as an “entrepreneur with multiple strength.”
“Nobody thought about this concept except me,” the profile reads.
North Korea has shown keen interest in building its cryptocurrency and blockchain capacities; the recent arrest of Ethereum Foundation researcher Virgil Griffith has shed light on Pyongyang’s pursuit of new blockchain technology.
CoinDesk, one of the two news services followed by Marine Chain, reported this week Griffith is expected to be released on bail.
“We dispute the untested allegations in the criminal complaint. Virgil looks forward to his day in court, when the full story can come out,” said Griffith’s lawyer Brian Klein.
Griffith was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport on Thanksgiving for North Korea travel and for giving the regime information on cryptocurrency.