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Blockchain conference in North delayed

Nov 28,2018
A $3,740-per-person blockchain conference in Pyongyang has been rescheduled from October to next April.

The Korean Friendship Association (KFA), a Spain-based pro-North Korean group, recently rescheduled a blockchain conference in Pyongyang that was meant to happen two months ago to next April. According to Radio Free Asia, the KFA decided to postpone the event to attract more participants and secure a larger venue. Only around 30 people are believed to have signed up for the event in October.

The Pyongyang Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference 2019 is now scheduled for April 18 to 25.

Only two days of the eight-day conference will actually be spent on blockchain and cryptocurrency sessions at the Science and Technology Complex, however.

The rest of the trip is reserved for tourist and sightseeing activities, including visits to the Pyongyang University of Foreign Languages as well as Kaesong, the demilitarized zone (DMZ) and Panmunjom. The itinerary also states that participants will have a chance to try out local leisure activities like bowling, shooting and shopping, while a trip to the Taedonggang Beer Factory and private business meetings are also part of the schedule.

Under the question “Is it safe?” in the FAQ section of the promotional website for the conference, the organizers answered “The DPRK can be considered the safest country in the world. As long as you have a basic common sense and respect for the culture and belief of other nations, you’ll always be welcome.” DPRK refers to the North’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The entry fee for the entire conference is 3,300 euros ($3,740) per person. It is said to include a round-trip flight ticket from Beijing to Pyongyang, a seven-night stay at a three-star hotel and Korean-to-English translators.

Everyone except journalists and those with South Korean, Japanese and Israeli passports are allowed to sign up for the conference. Though the promotional website states that U.S. citizens are welcome to apply, the current Washington ban on Americans traveling to North Korea is expected to make that impossible.

The two main organizers for the conference are stated as Alejandro Cao de Benos, the president of the KFA, and Chris Emms, who is referred to as a “blockchain and crypto expert.”

The KFA was founded in 2000 with the objective of building international ties with North Korea.


BY KIM EUN-JIN [kim.eunjin1@joongang.co.kr]


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