Home News ETH developer pleads guilty for conspiracy to violate sanctions laws

ETH developer pleads guilty for conspiracy to violate sanctions laws


A developer for the cryptocurrency Ethereum has entered a guilty plea to conspiring to break sanctions rules. Griffith and US prosecutors have been fighting for nearly two years on a presentation the developer delivered in Pyongyang. And the plea agreement puts a stop to that.

In fact, Virgil Griffith, an Ethereum (ETH) developer, has pled guilty to a federal allegation of conspiring with North Korea to violate US sanctions law.

Furthermore, Griffith pled guilty to conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. Which prohibits Americans from transferring technology and intellectual property to communist nations, on Monday in New York. Griffith may face up to six and a half years in jail as part of the plea agreement. The formal sentencing process is in prospect to begin in January 2022.

Virgil was under arrest after a seminar in Pyongyang

After visiting a seminar in Pyongyang, North Korea earlier in the year, Virgil, a senior researcher with the Ethereum Foundation, was under arrest in November 2019. Moreover, prosecutors claim that the developer delivered a lecture on how to use blockchain technology to launder money and dodge sanctions.

Griffith’s plea agreement came just as jury selection in New York was about to begin. According to The Wall Street Journal, the trial is expectable to cover a wide range of issues, including free speech and North Korea’s relations with the US.

On the other hand, according to journalist Ethan Lou, who purports to have been in North Korea with Griffith at the time of the presentation, it’s ambiguous what prompted the developer to plead guilty. He clarified:

“Virgil was visibly sentimental. When he talked, he would sigh deeply. It’s unclear what recent event prompted this guilty plea. The documentation was only signed a few days ago. One probable explanation is that an Ethereum Foundation lawyer’s remote testimony is barred.”

Griffith’s defence team tried to have the charges dismissed in October 2020, but prosecutors rejected their claims. The advocates representing the US government labelled the arguments “unavailing” at the time.

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