- A former Ethereum (ETH) developer, Virgil Griffith, has been sentenced to 63 months in prison.
- Griffith will also have to pay a $100,000 fine.
- This all follows after he attended a conference and assisted North Korea in using blockchain technology to evade economic sanctions imposed by the United States.
A former Ethereum (ETH) developer, Virgil Griffith, has been sentenced to 63 months in prison. He will also have to pay a $100,000 fine for attending a conference and assisting North Korea in using blockchain technology to evade economic sanctions imposed by the United States.
The District Judge of the Southern District of New York, Kevin Castel, handed down the decision on Tuesday, April 12. Judge Castel stated that it is evident that the efforts to violate the sanctions were intentional and deliberate, and added that the magnitude of the crime was raised by the fact that Griffith has a “desire to educate people on how to evade sanctions.”
Griffith pleaded guilty in September 2021 to conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. This is a law that bans U.S. citizens from exporting “goods, services or technology to the DPRK (North Korea) without a license from the Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).”
In April 2019, Griffith visited the capital of Pyongyang for the Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference, despite not gaining permission from the U.S. authorities to travel to North Korea earlier that year.
At the conference, Griffith gave presentations about how the country could avoid sanctions and launder money using cryptocurrencies. The presentation also included methods on how smart contracts could be beneficial for the country in nuclear weapons negotiations with the U.S.
Griffith’s defense team tried to lower his sentence by providing evidence of factors that may have caused him to act irrationally, presenting a psychological assessment of Griffith that indicated that he suffered from Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Disorder.