A tweet, from a Coindesk staffer, about a huge stash of Bitcoin being transferred from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s wallet, caused uproar among crypto traders and media this weekend.
Coindesk markets reporter Zack Voell wrote a tweet in the style of a “Whale Alert,” which regularly tweets about large movements of Bitcoin. It claimed that 65,091 Bitcoin (BTC) worth around $500 million was transferred, and that funds were moved from Kim’s Trezor wallet to crypto exchange Coinbase. The implication being that Kim had died and North Korea was selling his Bitcoin stash—which could have a devastating impact on the crypto markets.
Only it wasn’t true.
Speculation aboutthe possible death of Kim has been rampant since late last week, after rumors emerged that he was seriously ill with heart trouble.
It gave some credence to the idea that North Korea would sell its reserves of Bitcoin and othercryptocurrencies totalling $670 million—funds it had reportedly accumulated to bypass US sanctions. Traders feared that the sale of such a vast amount of Bitcoin would cause the market to crash.
North Korea has $670 million in bitcoin
- North Korea news should trigger big selloff in Bitcoin (if Kim’s death confirmed)
Gerard’s observation was based on the visit of Ethereum developer Virgil Griffith to North Korea last year.Griffith was later arrested for allegedly showing North Korea how to launder money and skirt US sanctions with cryptocurrencies and blockchain.
Kim may still be alive
Cybersecurity pioneer and crypto fan John McAfee said he never doubted that Kim was still thriving. “Nonsense!” he said about the rumors. “He’s hangin' with me.”
On Sunday, Moon Chung-in, a special adviser on national security to the South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, told CNN thatKim was alive and well. He added that the North Korean leader had been staying in Wonsan—a resort town on the country’s east coast—since April 13.