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According to a report by Korea Development Bank (KDB) Research Institute, North Korea is eagerly trying to develop cryptocurrencies, and transactions of such currencies are already taking place, although the usage is minimal. Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month. Kim Min-gwan, a senior researcher at the Institute, says in the report that North Korea is also attempting to mine cryptocurrencies. Their characteristics, such as high anonymity, difficulty in tracking funds, and easy cash flow, provide the background for Pyongyang’s interest. In particular, North Korea is strongly interested in mining Monetha coin. This is because mining Monetha does not require high-end computer equipment as other cryptocurrencies usually do, Kim notes. Kim cites North Korea’s attempt to mine cryptocurrencies in bulk between May and July last year as an example, adding it is understood the attempt was not that successful. There have also been multiple reports suggesting that North Korea is attempting to hack cryptocurrency exchanges in South Korea. In June, for instance, South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Bithumb, was hacked, and about 35 billion South Korean won ($31.5 million) was stolen. At that time, Seoul-based newspaper Security News pointed out that a North Korean hacking group, Lazarus Group, may be behind the cyberattack.
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The defining symbol of ppalli-ppalli achievement remains the Gyeongbu Expressway, which runs 428km south-east from Seoul to the second city of Busan. Originally slated to take three and half years, the highway was completed just two years and five months after the 1968 ground-breaking ceremony. All told, about nine million man-days of labour were poured into the project. By no means, though, has the speed of construction in South Korea tapered off since then. An entire cutting-edge city, Songdo International Business District, was erected on reclaimed land south-west of Seoul starting in 2004, with the first phase – comprising a sprawling park, convention centre, Sheraton hotel and set of apartment towers – opening just five years later. Even more ambitious – and faster – was the administrative centre of Sejong City, about 120km south of Seoul, which was built from scratch starting in 2010 and inaugurated in 2012. View image of The first phase of construction on the new Songdo International Business District was completed in just five years (Credit: Credit: Sueddeutsche Zeitung Photo/Alamy) Though South Korea gets more recognition for its fleetness, North Korea seems to have the speed bug too. Kim Il-sung, the founding leader of North Korea, encouraged workers to aspire to ‘chollima speed’, referring to a mythical horse that flies around 400km per day. But the Supreme Leader’s grandson, Kim Jong-un, shifted up a few gears with the slogan ‘ mallima speed ’ – a 10-time increase. His sloganeering has borne some results, with showpiece apartment towers on Pyongyang’s Ryomong Street opening in 2017 after only a year of construction.
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