In the USA, there is an ongoing case regarding an IT specialist from the Ethereum Foundation, Virgil Griffith, who gave a lecture on blockchain in North Korea. Apparently, he told the authorities of the Kim regime what they can do to avoid economic sanctions by using cryptocurrencies.
Virgil Griffith on trial
US government lawyers filed a legal memorandum opposing the dismissal of charges against Virgil Griffith, a former member of the Ethereum Foundation, accused of collaborating with the government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
According to court files filed on November 19 in the New York South District, prosecutors referred to Griffith’s October 22 motion, which suggested that the charges against him should be dropped as “Ineffective”. The U.S. government’s legal team says the former Ethereum Foundation researcher provided services to the DPRK. To explain this, an analogy was used of a US citizen who transfers US nuclear secrets to scientists from another country:
“A simple hypothesis reveals the absurdity of Griffith’s position. Griffith’s logic would allow an American physicist to travel to the DPRK and explain the principles behind [budową] nuclear weapons at a conference of North Korean physicists [póki] he would not charge anything for it, and the regime’s desire to build a nuclear weapon was not of an economic nature. “
A US district court accused Griffith of conspiracy to violate the International Economic Emergency Powers Act after a presentation he gave at a conference in North Korea. The speech allegedly contained information that North Korean law enforcement agents could use to circumvent economic sanctions using cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.
Federal authorities say Griffith knew that the DPRK was particularly interested in blockchain circumvention. They claim that Griffith even sent a message to a colleague stating that he planned to facilitate a transaction worth 1 ether (ETH) “between North and South Korea “, knowing it would breach sanctions.
Griffith argued that his presentation was “A highly general speech based on publicly available information” and that he did not receive payment for his participation in the conference, and the speech was not “Economic utility”. Therefore, he claims that the allegations are unfounded and that the speech itself is protected under the First Amendment.