January 20, 2022

How North Korea Might Exploit New Video Games for Crypto

Pyongyang has demonstrated growing interest and capability in exploiting new financial technology to obtain valuable foreign currency needed for its weapons development programs. Given the rising popularity in trading cryptocurrency, North Korean hackers are likely to include new play-to-earn (P2E) crypto games within their illicit cyber-enabled financial schemes.

The online gaming industry has a history of illicit actors exploiting its networks and user base to conduct and facilitate cyber-enabled financial crime.

Once reserved for professional gamers winning massive cash prizes at national and global tournaments, video gaming has evolved to now provide amateur gamers and crypto enthusiasts with opportunities to earn large amounts of cryptocurrency with relative ease. Most video games follow play-to-win (P2W) mechanics that entice players to complete a series of puzzles, tasks, and activities to “beat the game” or progress to the next level. In order to earn money, professional players typically enroll in tournaments organized by third parties to win cash prices and other financial rewards. However, P2E crypto games operate on blockchain technology that facilitates the earning of cryptocurrency within the game itself, or non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that can be later sold for cryptocurrency. The technological mechanics of P2E crypto games remove the need for tournaments or third-party organizers to provide players with potential financial rewards outside of the game, which presents new financial risks within the online gaming world.

Read the full article from The Diplomat.

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