North Korea is in virtual internet lockdown. So how did Federico Tenga end up teaching North Koreans about a lucrative cyber currency?
Despite being the most hermetic country on Earth, North Korea is certainly no stranger to cyberspace—in both its uses and abuses. Despite a tiny local internet user base and just a few dozen local websites, cybercrime in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is estimated to be a multi-billion dollar industry.
Bitcoin, in particular, has undoubtedly caught the attention of the North Korean regime. According to FireEye, the DPRK is specifically interested in stealing Bitcoin and other virtual currencies to not only evade sanctions but also to obtain hard currencies to fund the regime.
It was no surprise, then, that Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST) invited Federico Tenga, an avid Bitcoiner, and co-founder of Chainside, to teach their Computer Science and Finance students about Bitcoin.
ExpressVPN spoke with Federico to delve into the details of the course he taught in Pyongyang.
Ciao Federico! Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
I consider myself to be a “Bitcoiner”—I got interested in 2011, and from there I’ve worked towards eventually co-founding a Bitcoin company, in 2016. We work on products and services that help businesses and companies interact with Bitcoin.
“It’s one of the only places which feels fundamentally different from the rest of the world…”
I’d also consider myself to be a Libertarian, so visiting a country so controlled by the government like North Korea was particularly intriguing to me. It’s one of the only places which feels fundamentally different from the rest of the world because they aren’t as connected to it.
So I was interested to see if I could merge the two things—my passion for Bitcoin and my curiosity about North Korea, which I was actually able to do by teaching North Korean students what Bitcoin was.