Ethereum founder charged guilty of sharing blockchain information to North Korea

  • Virgil Griffith has been charged by the US government for attending the conference in North Korea and talking about blockchain despite being denied his visit to the country
  • Judge Castle to start hearing in September 2021
  • Griffith filed a motion to dismiss charges against him

Virgil Griffith, the founder of Ethereum has been facing the charges of conspiracy. He was arrested in November 2019 for his visit to North Korea and talked about cryptocurrency for his benefit. He is now pleading to dismiss the charges against him.

The rulings were made on some points by the US District Judge P. Kevin Castel from the Southern District of New York. Griffith trial on the full motion is due for September 2021. According to charges made by the government, Griffith had travelled to North Korea to Pyongyang. He attended the blockchain conference there in April 2020 irrespective of being denied the permission by the US government. His is the first case involving cryptocurrency and sanctions in the US courts. 

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Griffith’s representatives had filed dismiss charges made against him. The representatives had filed it in October 2020. Under the motion, it is argued that Griffith did not talk about anything which will hurt the interest of the US government. His giving information on blockchain technology in North Korea did not mean that he is giving his services to the North Koreans. The US government allegations failed to specify the facts. 

The arguments were done based on the facts that the government had not put forth. While listening to the arguments, Judge Castel raised a query on whether Griffith’s speech at the blockchain conference was against the regulations laid by the US government and was beyond the knowledge of the DPRK. 

He asked the government to tell whether his appearance at the conference was intended to the conspiracy that the US government has filed charges against him. And that the officials intend to stand in front of the jury and argue that the information shared by him in the conference is not known to the DPRK and that is this the violation of the government. 

The prosecution in a reply to the Judge said that the basis of the argument on the DPRK in the motion to dismiss was too lengthy. Instead, the prosecution will give evidence that how Griffith’s speech and the query to the audience have helped them about the cryptocurrency. However, in the complaint filed by the government, Griffith is charged with violating the law. 

Meanwhile, Judge Castle in his ruling has asked the defendants to give the information that the US Treasury Department of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) may have in Griffith’s case, since there were dialogues shared between the FBI and OFAC in October 2019 till date.

The judge has also asked to reveal the identity of the witness that the government has to show

The government will reveal the identity 30 days before the trial. The Judge has asked both the parties to work on the case and submit their findings by January 25, 2021. He has given dates of hearing for September 2021 and both the parties were ordered to submit the letter by 30 Dec 2020 if they have any issues to start the trial from September 2021.

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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.

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