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Dennis Rodman Won't Explain North Korea Trip, But Weed Currency Paid For It

14/06/2017 12:52 PM AEST | Updated 14/06/2017 1:00 PM AEST

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman thanked a digital currency for the marijuana industry for sponsoring his current visit to North Korea for meetings with dictator Kim Jong Un.

Rodman on Tuesday returned to Pyongyang. The former Chicago Bull has made several trips since 2013 to the isolated, communist country, where he has cultivated a personal friendship with Kim, a reputed basketball fanatic.

It's unclear what is on Rodman's agenda, though he said in a statement, "I'm really looking forward to spending time with the wonderful people of North Korea and of course, visiting with the Supreme Leader, Kim Jong Un."

Officials for PotCoin, which is likened to a smaller-scale Bitcoin for weed entrepreneurs and their customers, also did not explain why they've put up the money for Rodman's mission. The company and Rodman said such details would be revealed when he returned.

The trip fueled speculation that Rodman might convey a message from President Donald Trump to Kim. Rodman, a former contestant on Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice" show, has said he discussed North Korea with the president in West Point this year. Trump himself has declared he'd be "honored" to meet Kim.

PotCoin alluded to the possibility that Rodman could be some sort of intermediary. Their statement said Rodman is in the "very rare position to be able to claim long-time friendships" with both leaders.

Tension has ratcheted up in recent months between the United States and North Korea over the latter's series of missile tests.

Rodman's arrival overlapped with his hosts freeing a comatose American college student they had imprisoned since January 2016 for stealing a propaganda poster. Rodman told CNN he wasn't there to lobby for the release of any of the four Americans detained in the country.

"Well that's not my purpose right now," said Rodman. "My purpose is to go over there and try to see if I can keep bringing sports to North Korea."

To celebrate Kim's 30th birthday in 2014, Rodman brought a group of former NBA players to compete against a North Korean team. During that journey, the colorful Hall of Famer criticized Korean-American Kenneth Bae, who was held captive in North Korea at the time. Rodman apologized later and said alcohol had influenced his comments.

There is $33.39 million worth of PotCoin in circulation, the company claims. The value of the digital currency has surged in value since March, according to Marketwatch.

Opportunities to spread PotCoin to North Korea seem unlikely. Marijuana is illegal in North Korea, according to the Associated Press, despite persistent reports to the contrary in weed publications.

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