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From QR codes to the blockchain: Inside North Korea’s digital payment plans

DPRK has pushed to go digital in recent years, a move that could give state greater control over citizens’ finances

Cash is king in North Korea. Long after credit cards became the norm in other countries, consumers in the DPRK have continued to carry paper currency — either North Korean won or forex like Chinese yuan and the U.S. dollar — to pay for goods at their local markets.

But recent reporting in state media has increasingly drawn attention to Pyongyang’s ambition to introduce a nationwide digital payment system, and the country has already experimented with some limited financial reform.

The COVID-19 pandemic may have been a catalyst for change, with the regime ramping up



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