The price is one ether for the first 1,000 visas, which will be issued via the blockchain. Two hundred thousand passes will be granted using the blockchain. The official site doesn’t say what the per-visa cost will be once 1,000 have been issued. The South China Morning Post, which first reported on the venture, incorrectly stated that 1 ETH would buy 1,000 Visas.
Cheollima also calls itself “Jayu Joseon,” which means Free Joseon.
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North Korean Dissidents to Sell 200,000 Visas for $27 Million in Ethereum
If the price remains constant, the group is trying to raise around $27 million. The group’s website says that the visas may be traded and sold. You are allowed to purchase as many as you like. They say that if you want to build a business or some other commercial activity in the future free country, you’ll have to contact them for a more advanced visa.
The visa will give you access to “Free Joseon,” the state Cheollima will found in place of North Korea, for 45 days at a time. It is issued using ERC-721, a variant of the widely-used ERC-20 standard. ERC-721 significantly improves the usefulness of Ethereum for non-fungible (unique) tokens, although entry documents to a prospective nation-state are perhaps their first “real-world” use case to date.
The visas are called “G-Visas.” The “G” stands for “Genesis.” The contract address is 0x9044c1f34f29d19558c11662cb2de79f858347d9. Seven visas have already been issued, but you cannot officially buy them until Sunday.
The group is responsible for multiple actions against the North Korean state so far. In one case, they took credit for defacing the North Korean embassy in Malaysia.
Recently, they are believed to have stormed the hermit kingdom’s Spanish embassy – using fake weapons – and extracted computers and cell phones. Experts believe these items contain important intel.
Support the Liberation of North Korea with Ethereum
They are also responsible for rescuing the son of Kim Jong-nam. Half-brother to Kim Jong-un, Jong-nam was famously assassinated by North Korean agents in Kuala Lumpur. The group worried that Jong-nam’s son, Kim Han-sol, would be next. They spirited him away from Macau, and he appeared in a video disseminated to the media, expressing gratitude to Cheollima Civil Defense.
Freedom-loving Etherians and Bitcoiners are welcome to contribute over the minimum of one Ethereum token per visa. The Bitcoin address associated with the group is 134ytYQnZVAEVV6YZVfx1NBUGc9GY45FBm. It has received over 14 BTC to date. The Ethereum address for donations is 0xe60e1888a6c1b6350ff44c0c388781bf169c2979. It hasn’t received anything.
The extremely unusual nature of the visas will make them highly valuable if the overthrow of the Kim regime is successful. You do not have to provide any proof of ownership beyond holding the token.
Free Joseon — The Next Asian Crypto Hub?
The politics of the group are unclear. Clearly, they favor libertarian ideals, willing to risk their lives in pursuit of a free North Korea. They haven’t commented on subjects such as reunification with the South.
To date, Cheollima has only spoken of knocking over Kim Jong-un and establishing a free country in place of the prison state. If they create a liberal democracy in place of the existing communist regime, their proximity to China, ample natural resources, and relatively undeveloped countryside could make Free Joseon a global hub of commerce.
The group is greatly concerned about having their identity revealed. They posted a note to their website recently which reads, in part:
“The identification of even a single member could lead to the identities of others. Several of us have already escaped their attempts on our lives and that of our families. Many of our compatriots and their relatives have not been as fortunate. And any left surviving in concentration camps would surely face execution if the identities of their family members were dissidents were made known.”
A free North Korea would change the global political landscape. Will the Ethereum blockchain help make it happen? Time will tell. Buying the G-Visa is placing a bet, at this point. It will have indeterminate value if the group is successful. It will have no value if they fail.