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North Korea helped by Virgil Griffith to avoid US sanctions

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According to a Bloomberg article, Virgil Griffith, an Ethereum Foundation researcher, pled guilty to assisting North Korea in evading US sanctions by utilizing blockchain technology.

Griffith was detained in Pyongyang in 2019 after attending a blockchain conference. He allegedly assisted North Korea in using blockchain technology to help the regime avoid stringent international sanctions, according to US investigators. According to the Wall Street Journal, prosecutors claim his presentation amounted to providing services to North Korea, and his trip was not permitted by the United States.

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Griffith’s attorneys responded that he disseminated basic information that was widely accessible online.

According to Bloomberg, the trial was supposed to start on Monday, but Griffith instead confessed to conspiring to break the sanctions legislation. He may face a sentence of up to 20 years in jail.

After his detention in 2019, Vitalik Buterin, the creator of the Ethereum Foundation, published a petition on Twitter demanding Griffith’s release, despite the fact that the Ethereum Foundation was not engaged in the Pyongyang trip.
Buterin stated, “I don’t think what Virgil did offer DRPK any type of genuine aid in doing anything terrible.” “There was no strange ‘advanced teaching’ hackery.”

“Geopolitical agnosticism is a virtue. It’s admirable to go to a group of individuals that one has been taught to believe is a Maximum Evil Enemy since infancy and listen to what they have to say ” he added.

North Korea is subject to so-called secondary sanctions, meaning that anyone who does business with the country can find themselves under fire.

In the pre-crypto days, Griffith made his name as an iconoclastic hacker who reveled in creating “minor public-relations disasters for companies and organizations I dislike,” as he said in a 2008 interview with the New York Times.

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