Vigil Griffith’s Case Matter a lot to the Cryptocurrency Regulation: Here’s why

Ritika Sharma
Ritika Kumari Sharma is an Economics Honors graduate from the University of Calcutta. She is completely into finance and believes that cryptocurrencies are the future. She is an enthusiast learner about the cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.
  • Vigil Griffith was called the internet man of mystery at the age of 25 by The New York Times Magazine
  • In April 2018 he was denied the permission for attending the Pyongyang Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference in North Korea but went anyway
  • Griffith has not yet been declared guilty of the violations. However, the outcome of the case is extremely significant

Vigil Griffith, an American programmer, was best known for his cult hacking practices. Back in 2008, when Griffith was only 25 years old, he was called the internet man of mystery by the reputed The New York Times Magazine. In the following years, he became famous for launching the successful WikiScanner, a website that exposed the identities of all the anonymous writers in Wikipedia. This had created opportunities for news coverage as significant government organisations and agencies, political parties, major multinational corporations and religious institutions ranging from Pepsi to the CIA to the Church of Scientology were involved as revealed by the IP addresses. 

Griffith was Arrested in 2019 by Violating US Sanctions

Rising to fame, Griffith started working for Ethereum Foundations from Singapore. However, in April 2018 he was denied the permission for attending the Pyongyang Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference in North Korea. But the government’s denial didn’t stop him from attending the conference he went anyway. Consequently, when he landed in the US after a few months, he was arrested by the government and was sentenced to imprisonment for the next 20 years for violating the US sanctions. Moreover, the FBI revealed that in the conference he has discussed regarding crypto technologies that would evade sanctions and launder money. 

Cryptocurrencies can be Effectively used to Bypass Payments

Griffith has not yet been declared guilty of the violations. However, the outcome of the case is extremely significant because Griffith’s case is the first time when a US citizen has conspired or tried to conspire to utilise crypto to evade sanctions or launder money. Decentralisation, the most important feature of cryptocurrency seems to be harmful in such aspects. This is because crypto-assets do not require a banking institution to control its activity; instead it is a peer-directed network. Cross border payments without being caught by the jurisdictions of the government authorities become very easy using cryptocurrency. 

Griffith Accused of Setting up Deliveries for Equipment in North Korea

Reuters has reported that apart from conspiring for money laundering, he may also have been responsible for setting up deliveries of crypto mining equipment to facilitate North Korea with Ether. North Korea doesn’t have much of a reputation when it comes to cryptocurrency. For most of the time, it has been in the news for stealing cryptocurrencies rather than creating them. Moreover, North Korea is known for facilitating illicit activities of trafficking and drugs to promote its weapons program.

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