Ethereum researcher Virgil Griffith to be released on bail


The conference was attended by 100 people, prosecutors said, including several who appeared to work for the North Korean government.

An American man has been arrested for allegedly trying to help the North Korean government evade USA economic sanctions by using blockchain technology.

Federal agents have arrested a United States computer programmer for giving a talk at a cryptocurrency conference in North Korea on blockchain technology.

36-year old Ethereum (ETH) developer Virgil Griffith, who's facing up to 20 years in prison for allegedly helping North Korea avoid sanctions, is now represented by Brian Klein, high-stakes trial attorney and partner at Los Angeles-Based law firm Baker Marquart. Either unfazed by or unaware of that, Griffith made plans to set up a cryptocurrency exchange between North and South Korea, according to US officials. According to the complaint, a conference organizer told Griffith he should "stress the potential money laundering and sanction evasion applications" of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology during his talk, which he went on to allegedly do.

Griffith is accused of violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), which bars US citizens from exporting goods, services, or technology to North Korea without a license from the Department of Treasury. However, Griffith's tweet from earlier this year seems to back the Foundation's statement. It was a consensual interview and he talked about his presentation titled "Blockchain and Peace" with the agent.

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Of these three events, the most significant for the crypto market seems to be the arrest of US citizen Virgil Griffith, who works as a research scientist for the Ethereum Foundation.

"The sanctions were not a topic at all", Fabio Pietrosanti, who claims to have known Griffith for nearly ten years, told CoinDesk.

"I don't think what Virgil did gave [North Korea] any kind of real help in doing anything bad", added Buterin. "The Ethereum Foundation paid nothing and offered no assistance; it was Virgil's personal trip that many counseled against". There was no weird hackery "advanced tutoring", he said on Twitter.

Virgil Griffith, the head of Ethereum's special projects division, will be released from jail after his bond is posted, his legal representative said.