The cryptocurrency community at large was shocked last week when the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York revealed that it had arrested Virgil Griffith, an Ethereum Foundation researcher and prominent member of the blockchain space.
The State Attorney accused the individual of violating the “International Emergency Economic Powers Act (“IEEPA”) by traveling to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (“DPRK” or “North Korea”) in order to deliver a presentation… [on how to use technology] to evade sanctions.” Why this relates to cryptocurrency is that Griffith’s presentation was regarding blockchain and was made at a state-sponsored cryptocurrency event. U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman went as far as to say that Griffith provided North Koreans with “highly technical information.”
Also, Griffith, a government press release indicates, was purportedly denied entry to North Korea by the U.S. Department of State and did not gain approval to present at the event, which itself violates the sanction. Attendee of North Korean Crypto Conference Defends Griffith
Many are on the side of the government, citing the fact that aiding North Korea would just be perpetuating a dangerous regime. Though, some have come to the individual’s defense. Fabio Pietrosanti, an attendee of the aforementioned Pyongyang Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference that Griffith went to, told CoinDesk that at the event, sanctions “were not a topic at all.”
Pietrosanti added that discussions around sanctions in such a setting would have been foolish, adding that it is de-facto law between tourists to the nation that you shouldn’t […]
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