The FBI and the New York Office of the Prosecutor have just announced that they have arrested his state developer Ethereum Virgil Griffith.
He is accused of having assisted North Korea in its attempt to launder money in order to circumvent international sanctions. Griffith faces 2 years in prison.
And contrary to what the title suggests, there seems to be very little intelligence in this sad story.
Very Bad Trip Advisor
Virgil Griffith, in addition to his functions as a developer Ethereum since 2016, has very specific tastes in tourism. In any case, this is what we can deduce from our trip by North Korea last April.
You and me (especially you), it’s more Greece where the Tunisia but Virgil doesn’t like to do everyone’s stuff, so North Korea seemed like a reasonable choice.
The problem is that Virgil didn’t just come and smell the atmosphere of freedom and free will that Pyongyang is blowing on this laughing territory. No, he also and above all took the opportunity to participate in the Pyongyang Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference, a little jumble organized around crypto, in a context that is not at all sensitive, as we imagine.
Virgil is American, land of Liberty. Informed of its tourist intentions, the US State Department immediately made a point of forbid him politely but firmly to go discuss blockchain with his crypto-communist friends, considered the most aggressive in the world.
The complainant took note … and started packing for North Korea.
It will be agreed that, failing to be clever, the developer is transparent with regard to his inclinations. On his Linkedin profile, Virgil Griffith proudly announces the color (red in this case).
As for his Twitter account, he is… particular
“I apologize for this tweet. It’s in bad taste and I will always regret having tweeted it. “ Virgil Griffith’s Tweet pinned since mid-2018, referring to some dark story
The moment when the farce turns into a nightmare
Somewhat eccentric personalities, oThere are 2-3 in the crypto industry. All this could simply have remained the wandering under acid of a libertarian-cypherpunk in loss of bearings.
Yes but here it is, the case has just taken a serious turn with the arrest a few hours ago of Virgil Griffith at Los Angeles International Airport (the applicant is ordinarily resident in Singapore).
The office of the Deputy Attorney General for National Security to the New York prosecutor (who is getting to know about crypto business with the saga Bitfinex-Tether), published a press release which repeats the facts alleged against our extreme globetrotter:
“The authorities have arrested (…) an American citizen, for violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (“ IEEPA ”) for having gone to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (“ DPRK ”or“ North Korea ”) in order to make a presentation and provide technical advice on cryptocurrency and the use of blockchain technology, with a view to avoiding sanctions [internationales] “
Note that among the authorities initiating the procedure, in addition to a representative for the National Security, we also find John Brown, deputy director of the FBI Counterintelligence Division. No need to draw you a picture, it no longer laughs at all there.
In essence, Griffith is accused of not only traveling to North Korea despite the formal ban, but also of providing information and advice to regime officials to circumvent financial sanctions that the international community has imposed on the country for years.
The very detailed Prosecutor’s document is full of details. He mentions in particular the mention of smart contract specific, the fact that the developer tried to attract other blockchain researchers to the conference, or his technical discussions with official representatives (even if this description could correspond to any exchanges between members of the industry during all such meetings around the world).
For these facts, Virgil Griffith faces 20 years in prison. Beyond its particular situation, and the impossibility of judging its real motivations and actions, the crypto industry has again come to pass in the eyes of the world for that of illegal uses, subversion and crime, including understood international.
Nice to meet you, it’s Hellmouth! Editor-in-chief of Bitcoin, the crypto media you are honoring to survey right now (well done, you have taste).
Crypto-enthusiast of the second hour, nothing is more important to me than supporting the global adoption and democratization of the treasures that the blockchain offers us.
I write articles between two cocktails in Tahiti, my adopted island, and do not hesitate, if the opportunity arises, to feast on a plump scam or a little too enterprising Ponzi pyramid.
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