Digital Frontlines: The Emerging Role of Cryptocurrencies in Hybrid Warfare & Geopolitics

Thumbnail Image
Penn collection
School of Arts & Sciences::College of Arts and Sciences::CUREJ - College Undergraduate Research Electronic Journal
Degree type
Political Science
International and Area Studies
Hybrid Warfare
Cyber Attacks
International Affairs
Grant number
Copyright date
Related resources
Stephanie Hwang

As the digital landscape has evolved over the past several decades, scholars have noted that cyberspace has emerged as a new frontier for conflict, challenging conventional war paradigms and revealing the limitations of existing legal and normative frameworks. Amidst this evolving landscape, cryptocurrencies both present high economic promise and highlight the need for necessary safeguards to ensure that their economic potential is not compromised. This thesis delves into the potential exploitation of cryptocurrencies by the Axis of Autocracy, the subsequent consequences for the global geopolitical landscape, and the wisdom gleaned from the international community's past experiences with geopolitical destabilization. By focusing on Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs), namely North Korea's Lazarus Group, this research highlights the innovative and disruptive nature of hybrid warfare within the cryptocurrency realm. It underscores the dual-edged nature of cryptocurrencies: as instruments of significant economic empowerment and innovation, and as tools potentially manipulated in the service of hybrid warfare. The analysis scrutinizes the geopolitical threat posed by APTs’ use of crypto as a means of waging hybrid war against the West, emphasizing the importance of global collaboration and regulatory oversight to harness the full potential of cryptocurrencies while mitigating their vulnerabilities. In an era marked by the continuous blurring of boundaries between peace and conflict, this thesis offers invaluable insights and recommendations for policymakers, finance experts, and academics striving to understand and address the complexities of cybersecurity and international relations in promoting a stable global order.

Date Range for Data Collection (Start Date)
Date Range for Data Collection (End Date)
Digital Object Identifier
Book title
Series name and number
Publication date
Volume number
Issue number
College Undergraduate Research Electronic Journal (CUREJ)
Publisher DOI
Journal Issue
Recommended citation