A certain American cryptocurrency researcher has recently admitted to violating US law by attending a certain blockchain conference in North Korea in 2019. This is where he reportedly gave advice on how to elude US sanctions.
Virgil Griffith Pleads Guilty
According to the story by Gizmodo, Virgil Griffith, at 38 years old, has pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the official International Emergency Economic Powers Act. This reportedly prohibits the export of certain goods, technology, or other services to North Korea made by a US citizen.
He then reportedly entered his plea in an official federal court in New York, where he was to face trial, according to the report by the Wall Street Journal. Griffith is now perhaps best known for his actual work as a research scientist as well as the developer at the Ethereum Foundation, which is a non-profit that was associated with the popular cryptocurrency Ether.
Griffith Traveled to North Korea to Attend a Crypto Conference
He was also previously involved in a lot of tech ventures in business as well as academia. This includes the creation of a “dark web search engine”, according to Griffith’s LinkedIn profile. The greed-fear index is showing the crypto market is leaning towards fear.
In April 2019, Griffith reportedly traveled to North Korea for a certain “Pyongyang Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference.” This was where he gave a certain presentation regarding how blockchain technology, as well as cryptocurrency, could be used in order to skirt US sanctions as well as launder illicit funds. This was according to a certain criminal complaint from that particular period.
Griffith Tried to Get US Permission
Griffith has actually previously “sought permission” from the United States State Department for him to attend the conference but was actually rejected. He then decided to attend anyway by traveling to the DPRK through China while also apparently taking steps in order to obscure the “proof of his travel.”
He was then arrested in Los Angeles by the FBI. Griffith’s plan actually involved facilitating cryptocurrency transactions taking place between North and South Korea to elude American sanctions, according to the Justice Department.
US Economic Pressure on North Korea
The United States has often sought to use certain economic pressure against North Korea as a punishment for its own failure to denuclearize. Critics have actually often characterized sanctions as ineffective. This is while others note that they could even often add to the humanitarian crises within the said country.
Officials have actually stated that Griffith’s actions could have potentially undermined the imposed sanctions that were put into effect by the United States. Geoffrey S. Berman, a US Attorney, noted during the time of the arrest that Virgil Griffith had provided highly technical information to North Korea. Rich Dad Poor Dad author Robert Kiyosaki is now saying there could be a gold, stocks, and crypto market crash.
It was said that this was done knowing that this particular information could actually be used to help North Korea launder money and even evade sanctions. It was noted that in allegedly doing so, Griffith actually jeopardized the sanctions that the president and the Congress have enacted to put maximum pressure on North Korea’s noted “dangerous regime.”
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Written by Urian B.
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