For those unfamiliar with the concept of gold farming, it’s where players in an MMO game such as World of Warcraft basically spend hours on end (sometimes they use bots) killing monsters and looting them for gold. The gold is then sold to other players in exchange for real life cash, such as $9.99 for 5,000 in-game gold. Gold farmers can get pretty annoying as they tend to send you spam messages while you are playing and they also cause disruption to the game’s economy, not to mention there are unscrupulous gold farmers who hack player’s accounts and loot their gold, which in turn is sold to other players.
While it seems that gold farming has been limited to just companies or individuals trying to make money on the side, according to recent reports it appears that the latest strategy by North Korea to fund its government is by hiring gold farmers who reportedly are required to send $500 back to Pyongyang every month.
According to the New York Times, a team of hackers have been tasked to infiltrate games such as Lineage and Dungeon Fighter and farm for in-game gold and items, which will be traded for real life cash. So far four South Koreans along with a Korean-Chinese have been arrested. This scheme has also been reported to have raised about $6 million so far.
Who would have thought that gold farming could be used to fund a government?