First bitcoin transaction from North Korean soil takes placeReuters

A tourist has made what is reported to be the first-ever bitcoin transaction from North Korean soil.

The transaction amount is thought to be quite small - $100 (roughly equivalent to 104 millibitcoins).

The financial transfer took place between a tourist in North Korea and a Florida-based homeless outreach centre named Sean's Outpost in the US. The charity has been accepting money through bitcoin to raise funds.

The unnamed tourist wrote in his Reddit post: "What better use case of bitcoin than to send money internationally from what is probably the most restrictive country in the world?

"With bitcoin, borders mean nothing! Granted, using the internet is not a privilege afforded to the large majority of North Koreans, so it will be a while before the people of the DPRK are sending bitcoins to each other."

To validate his claim, he has posted a picture on Reddit which shows him holding a piece of paper with transaction details in front of what is called Schoolchildren's Palace in the North Korean capital Pyongyang.

The tourist, who calls himself BitcoinDPRK, transferred the virtual currency using the Koryolink mobile internet service in North Korea, considered the most isolated country in the world.

The transfer has reportedly been confirmed by Sean's Outpost.

During his tour, the user also distributed wallets containing a few millibitcoins to North Korean tour guides, who generally accompany visitors.

The digital currency has been under intense scrutiny from authorities across the world for various reasons including its volatile nature and the absence of the backing of a regulatory authority.

Even though the latest transaction does not involve any North Korean party, it is likely to raise concern as it took place in a country which is reeling under harsh international sanctions over its controversial nuclear programme.

Earlier, there were reports suggesting that Iran, also hit by a clampdown, had been using bitcoins to beat the US restrictions on trade and finance.