Report: North Korea Sponsored Two Scam Projects In 2018
The government of North Korea supported at least two cryptocurrency projects in 2018, luring hundreds of thousands of dollars from investors through fraudulent schemes, as reported in the study by the company Recorded Future.
According to the data received, North Korea sponsored the scam project Interstellar, launched in 2018. After rebranding, the tokens were renamed to HOLD, and listed by several crypto exchanges — but later they were delisted, which misled the investors.
In mid-2018, the developers announced that users would be able to mine the HOLD tokens, but would not have an opportunity to use them for some time. The startup received the funds, after which it shut down, leaving the investors empty-handed.
The researchers charge North Korea with supporting another scam project called Marine Chain. It was revealed in discussions on several crypto community forums.
The Marine Chain website reported that the project was designed to tokenize maritime vehicles. The servers were located on four IP-addresses, from which the scammers were running other fraudulent schemes from 2017 to 2018. Beyond that, Marine Chain resembled another website — ShipOwner.io, where users can buy or rent ships for cryptocurrency.
A lot of users complained of losses amounting to "tens of thousands of dollars", which the fraudsters lured via the website. After that the Canadian authorities considered Marine Chain a scam project.
Moreover, the names of several North Korean officials were mentioned in the company’s profile on LinkedIn. It prompted the analysts to think that the state uses scam projects to raise the budget funds.
As previously reported, North Korea circumvents sanctions and launders money with the help of cryptocurrency.