The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and the FBI announced the arrest of Virgil Griffith, an Ethereum research scientist. Virgil allegedly violated U.S. sanctions and traveled to North Korea to give the country “a presentation and technical advice on using cryptocurrency and blockchain technology to evade sanctions.”
Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said in a statement Griffith “jeopardize the sanctions” that have been enacted to “place maximum pressure on North Korea’s dangerous regime.”
“As alleged, Virgil Griffith provided highly technical information to North Korea, knowing that this information could be used to help North Korea launder money and evade sanctions.”
Griffith reportedly attended a North Korean cryptocurrency conference in April of 2018, and in it discussed with other attendees “how the DPRK [North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] could use blockchain and cryptocurrency technology to launder money and evade sanctions.”
The masses are saying that the Ethereum Foundation had nothing to do with Griffith’s trip, saying it was a personal choice. One of Ethereum’s co-founders, Vitalik Buterin, showed support for a petition to free Griffith.