According to a recent article, DPRK is increasingly using cryptocurrencies to evade sanctions and gain access to foreign currency, specifically US dollars.
Previous reports have indicated that North Korea has stolen cryptocurrency as part of its efforts to evade international sanctions. Lourdes Miranda and Ross Delston have stated that North Korea is creating its own cryptocurrency. In order to circumvent sanctions, the country can use multiple exchanges, mix and shift services, and international banks with correspondent relationships with the United States.
Priscilla Moriuchu believes that the DPRK has earned between $15 million and $200 million mining and selling cryptocurrencies (both bitcoin and Monero). The country also earned a significant amount of bitcoin in ransom payments during the WannaCry cyber attack. The hackers used ShapeShift to convert bitcoin to Monero, an “untraceable” cryptocurrency.
Analysis: North Korean likely uses these funds to evade sanctions, procuring goods and material that it otherwise would not have access to, or to fund its WMD program. DPRK uses its few connections to the international community to achieve these aims: the internet, and international shipping.