The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on Tuesday sanctioned a number of crypto wallets that it says are linked to the North Korean government.
The wallets, which contained bitcoin, ether, Tether’s USDT, and Circle’s USDC, belonged to an individual named Sang Man Kim, a 58-year-old North Korean citizen, OFAC alleged. The wallets were hosted by the crypto exchange Binance.
OFAC said the sanctions were part of an effort to “counter the threat posed by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)’s illicit weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and ballistic missile programs.”
The agency said the DPRK has been using cryptocurrency to generate revenue for these programs, and that the sanctions would “severely disrupt” the DPRK’s ability to do so.
Binance said in a statement that it “fully complies with all applicable sanctions and laws, and has a zero-tolerance policy for illegal activity.” The exchange said it has been working with OFAC to investigate the sanctioned wallets and that it has “already taken steps to freeze and disable them.”
The sanctions against the North Korean wallets are the latest in a series of actions taken by the U.S. government to crack down on the DPRK’s WMD and ballistic missile programs.
In 2022, the U.S. government imposed sanctions on a number of North Korean individuals and entities, including the country’s top cyber security agency. The U.S. government has also been working to block North Korean access to the global financial system.