Reuters reported it, with an article published a few hours ago, the United Nations warned the community that by participating in the next conference on cryptocurrencies in North Korea, scheduled for next February, they are likely to be indicted for violating the sanctions imposed on Pyongyang; not that a warning from the UN was needed, Virgil Griffith's arrest, which took place last November, was enough to make the crypto-community understand that there is a bad air.
It is a pity that North Korea, this time, has taken steps to protect those who want to participate; on the conference website, in fact, it is reported that visitors (from whatever country they come from) will be able to participate in the meeting completely anonymously.
More precisely, the site reports that:
We will provide a paper visa separate from the passport, so there will be no proof of your entry into the country. Your participation will never be revealed on our side unless you advertise it on your own.
Those who want to participate, therefore, will only have to be careful to take a flight to South Korea and then cross the border with non-traceable means; obviously avoiding taking a selfie with Kim Jong-un maybe posting it on social media.
Now, without falling into purely political aspects, regardless of any ideological orientation and without even going into the merits of whether the sanctions are correct or not, here the point is very simple; the cryptocurrency community has been working hard for years to encourage mass adoption of bitcoins and, more generally, the transition from fiat currencies, under the monopoly of states, to decentralized currency under direct control of digital communities, consequently there is everything interest in attending any conference regardless of the country in which it is held.
The trumpets of states that vie for power over the international geopolitical chessboard not only do not concern us but also do not interest us; we don't care if Kim Jong-un is really a mad criminal or just a head of state who is defending the sovereignty of his country, from the point of view of the cryptocurrency community all of this is completely irrelevant.
Encouraging the spread of bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies in North Korea is something that should be done not to favor the North Korean government but to support the local population.
In this sense Virgil Griffith has been an example, no government should feel entitled to tell us where we can or cannot go, no government has the right to limit our freedom of movement so arbitrarily nor, even less, to tell us to who we can or cannot send money.
Imagine that, through social media, I make friends with a North Korean citizen and imagine that, at a certain point, this person, being in financial difficulties, asks me to help him; I have the full right to do with my money what I prefer and if I want to send money to support this virtual friend of mine I must be free to do it without any government feeling entitled to indict me and arrest me for it.
As a cryptocurrency community we cannot tolerate this kind of deeply illiberal and, in my opinion, harmful approaches; we therefore demand the right to travel wherever we want and like and to send our money to whoever we want, without governments and institutions beaking.
This is why bitcoin was born, this is why decentralized money is needed, to give us back that freedom that our governments themselves have undermined and demolished.