Ethereum developer, Virgil Griffith was arrested after being accused of helping North Korea fight the sanctions imposed on the US.
On November 29, 2019, developer Virgil Griffith was arrested by US authorities at the Los Angeles International Airport. If he was not allowed to travel to North Korea, the expert would still have made the trip to hold a conference on the blockchain at the Pyongyang Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference (DPRK).
Recall that the US forbid their citizens to visit the territory since 2017, unless special permission, a right that had not been granted to Griffith.
Virgil Griffith faces up to 20 years in prison
Deputy Attorney General John Demers sums it up: “Despite the warnings, Griffith would have gone to one of the main opponents of the United States, North Korea, where he would have taught his audience how to use blockchain technology to escape sanctions. With this complaint, we begin the process of seeking justice for such conduct. “
It was on this occasion that Virgil Griffith would have trained North Koreans on technologies that could allow them to circumvent US sanctions while making money laundering. The developer is also said to have invited other professionals to visit, indicating that he wanted to give up American citizenship.
The US accuses the expert of violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEEPA), a law that regulates and allows a restriction of trade with other countries. The man faces up to 20 years in prison.
Recall that North Korea has already expressed its desire to develop its own cryptocurrency to circumvent the international sanctions against him.
Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin supported Virgil Griffith after he was arrested. He stated that the developer had only made a presentation about information already available to the public and not an advanced tutorial leading to laundering money.
Buterin said he was signing a petition following a call from Italian developer Enrico Talin, who himself was urging him to launch a document to collect signatures and get Griffith released. For now, the co-founder of Ethereum has not shared the link of the petition in question.
I refuse to take the convenient path of throwing Virgil under the bus, because I firmly believe that that would be wrong. I'm signing. Reasoning below.https://t.co/E44p5caeJO
— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) December 1, 2019
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