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North Korea Hackers Love Japan

Samsung embraces CBDCs, Gensler rejects Coinbase, CZ unfollows Elon, Do Kwon cashes out, and dtcpay opens its doors

May 16, 2023

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Welcome to Blockhead's Daily Digest, your go-to source for the latest and most exciting news in the world of cryptocurrency. Our mission is to provide our subscribers with accurate, insightful, and timely coverage of the rapidly evolving crypto space.

Here at Blockhead, we absolutely love Japan... But not as much as North Korean hackers apparently. According to a survey from Elliptic on behalf of Nikkei, Japan is the top destination for North Korean hacks. Between 2017 and 2022, 721 million was stolen from Japan, which accounts for 30% of global losses and is 8.8x greater than North Korea's exports in 2021.

In total, North Korean hackers stole a whopping $2.3 billion in crypto from businesses globally. Vietnam was the second most desired country for North Korean hackers, with $540 million stolen from the region. The US took third place with $479 million and Hong Kong came in fourth with $281 million.

North Korean hackers were particularly drawn to Japan and Vietnam as their respective crypto industries have expanded rapidly without security measures matching their pace.

Whilst we're relieved to not see Singapore in the ranks of most hackable, the Little Red Dot must certainly not neglect security concerns as it vies to be the regional hub for the industry.

Anyway, on to your highly anticipated daily digest:


  • North Korea might be the crypto antagonist but South Korea is becoming an increasingly valuable web3 ally. South Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics has reportedly joined forces with the country's central bank to research offline central bank digital currency (CBDC) payments. On Monday, the Bank of Korea and Samsung signed an MOU to investigate the offline capabilities of the CBDC issued by the central bank for payments using NFC on Samsung mobile devices.
  • Has it really only been two weeks since we last mentioned the one and only Gary Gensler? Well, it's time to reset your timers. In July, the exchange filed a "petition for rulemaking" and has been seeking to force the SEC to respond. Even the US Chamber of Commerce came out in support of Coinbase. On Monday, the SEC Chair resurfaced to declare that rules already regulate crypto, despite Coinbase's request for more clarity. When asked during Atlanta Fed's 2023 Financial Markets Conference to comment on the Coinbase dispute, Gensler said the rules governing exchanges, brokers, advisors and more had already been published and that "this is a field that has been operating largely non-compliant." Your turn, Coinbase.
  • In more Twitter drama, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao has unfollowed Tesla "Technoking" Elon Musk on Twitter, according to a notification by BigCryptoAlert. Rumours are that this unfollowing was due to Twitter's recent partnership with eToro instead of Binance, "even though it was CZ who helped fund [Musk's] acquisition of Twitter." We're not sure if CZ is so petty to even engage in this sort of drama.. but we know how his little spat with FTX turned out. However, Binance’s $500 million investment in Twitter made last year remains intact, a Binance spokesperson told The Block.
  • The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago has accused "sophisticated institutional customers" of leading last year's run on crypto platforms like lender Celsius Network. This withdrawal of funds was seen by some as market discipline, punishing firms that had taken excessive risks and engaged in other abuses while promising high returns to customers. However, this market discipline offered little comfort to the numerous retail users who were not adequately informed about certain unregistered securities, resulting in financial losses, it noted.
  • Terraform Labs co-founder and CEO Do Kwon reportedly “cashed out” $2.8 million worth of crypto before being released on bail in Montenegro on Friday. Could this be the start of the ultimate getaway plan?
  • Payment company dtcpay, formerly known as Digital Treasures Center, has opened its new office in Singapore's Central Business District. The office, located at Cecil Street, will focus on developing local talent and establishing partnerships with companies to offer seamless digital payment solutions for merchants in various industries. Earlier this year, dtcpay underwent a rebranding exercise to emphasize its commitment to digital payments. The company also appointed Kanny Lee as Group CEO and is pursuing expansion plans, including obtaining relevant licenses in Hong Kong.

And that's all for today. Follow for more news and updates.

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