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North Korean Has Stolen an Estimated US$1.2 Billion in Cryptocurrency

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North Korean Has Stolen an Estimated US$1.2 Billion in Cryptocurrency

North Korean hackers have stolen an estimated 1.5 trillion won ($1.2 billion) in cryptocurrency and other virtual assets in the last five years, with more than half of it stolen this year alone, according to South Korea’s spy agency.

Following harsh UN sanctions and the COVID-19 pandemic, experts and officials say North Korea has turned to cryptocurrency hacking and other illicit cyber activities for desperately needed foreign currency to support its fragile economy and fund its nuclear program.

The National Intelligence Service, South Korea’s main spy agency, said North Korea’s ability to steal digital assets is considered among the best in the world due to the country’s focus on cybercrime since U.N. economic sanctions were tightened in 2017 in response to its nuclear and missile tests.

Sanctions imposed by the United Nations in 2016-17 prohibited key North Korean exports such as coal, textiles, and seafood, and compelled member countries to repatriate North Korean overseas workers. Its economy suffered further setbacks after it imposed some of the world’s most draconian anti-pandemic measures.

According to the NIS, state-sponsored North Korean hackers have stolen 1.5 trillion won ($1.2 billion) in virtual assets around the world since 2017, including approximately 800 billion won ($626 million) this year alone. It stated that South Korea contributed more than 100 billion won ($78 million) to the total.

It is expected that North Korean hackers will conduct more cyberattacks next year in order to steal advanced South Korean technologies as well as confidential information on South Korean foreign policy and national security.

Senior diplomats from the United States, South Korea, and Japan agreed earlier this month to step up efforts to curtail illegal North Korean cyber activities. In February, a panel of United Nations experts stated that North Korea was still stealing hundreds of millions of dollars from financial institutions, cryptocurrency firms, and exchanges.

Despite its economic difficulties, North Korea has conducted a record number of missile tests this year, which some experts believe is an attempt to modernize its arsenal and increase its leverage in future negotiations with its adversaries for sanctions relief and other concessions.

Warren Buffett has always hated cryptocurrency

Bitcoin and its supporters have had a difficult year. Even back in 2018, the Oracle of Omaha predicted that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies were doomed.

“They will have a very bad ending,” Warren Buffett predicted at the time to CNBC.

After reaching an all-time high of around $69,000 per unit on November 10, 2021, the world’s leading digital currency has since lost roughly 75% of its value, and is currently trading at $16,600 as of the end of the trading day on December 19.

Holdout investors who thought they’d missed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity are now sighing with relief; those who bought in at the peak are trying not to think about their losses.

What would the world’s most famous investor say to those considering firing up their investment apps and purchasing Bitcoin at a discount?

“If you owned all of the bitcoin in the world and offered it to me for $25, I wouldn’t take it,” Buffett said earlier this year to CNBC.

Aside from Bitcoin’s poor track record, here are three more reasons Buffett will not invest in it.

1. Cryptocurrency has “absolutely no unique value.”

The billionaire investor dislikes Bitcoin because he sees it as a waste of money.

Buffett is well-known for favoring stocks of corporations whose value — and cash flow — is derived from the production of goods. However, cryptocurrencies have no real value, according to Buffett in a CNBC interview in 2020.

“They can’t reproduce, they can’t mail you a check, they can’t do anything, and all you can hope for is that someone else comes along and pays you more money for them later on, but then that person has the problem.”

Though Bitcoin is designed to provide real value as a payment system, its application is still quite limited. According to Buffett, Bitcoin’s value stems from the belief that someone else will be willing to pay more for it in the future than you are now.

2. He does not consider cryptocurrency to be money.

Buffett has made a number of scathing remarks about Bitcoin and cryptocurrency over the years, including: “I don’t have any Bitcoin. “I don’t own any cryptocurrency and will never own any,” he told CNBC in 2020.

Bitcoin has grown in popularity as a tradable asset. But does it meet the three monetary criteria? Money, according to the most common definition, is a medium of exchange, a store of value, and a unit of account.

Buffett, on the other hand, calls it a “mirage.”

“It does not pass the currency test,” the billionaire said on CNBC in 2014. “It is not a long-term medium of exchange, nor is it a store of value.”

He adds that it’s a very effective way of sending money anonymously. “A check is a way of transmitting money as well,” he added. “Do checks have a lot of value just because they can transfer money?”

3. He does not comprehend it.

By sticking with stocks he understands, Buffett became one of the most successful investors in history.

“I get in enough trouble with things about which I believe I know something. “Why should I take a long or short position in something about which I know nothing?”

But, as he told CNBC after a Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting in 2018, people like to gamble, which is another issue with nonproductive assets.

“You get much more excited if you don’t understand it than if you do. If you look at something and say, ‘that’s magic,’ you can have anything you want.”

How does Warren Buffet choose winning stocks?

The billionaire investor employs the value investing strategy, which entails purchasing undervalued stocks of strong companies and holding them for an extended period of time.

Isn’t it simple?

Berkshire Hathaway seeks companies with a high profit margin and unique products that cannot be easily substituted. “It’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price,” Warren Buffett once said in a letter to his shareholders.

However, Buffett’s dislike for crypto stocks does not preclude you from purchasing Bitcoin. Even the billionaire has changed his mind about sectors he previously opposed.

He was notorious for avoiding tech stocks, even at the height of the dot-com bubble, and now Apple is his company’s largest holding.

The CTNNews editorial team comprises seasoned journalists and writers dedicated to delivering accurate, timely news coverage. They possess a deep understanding of current events, ensuring insightful analysis. With their expertise, the team crafts compelling stories that resonate with readers, keeping them informed on global happenings.

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