Griffith states that his blockchain talk in North Korea is based solely on publicly available information.
Virgil Griffith, the former Ethereum Foundation development researcher, filed an objection on Thursday against allegations that he should have deliberately disregarded US sanctions against North Korea. He justifies his objection by stating that the prosecution of the Southern District Court of New York cannot name a specific crime on his part.
Griffith, 37, was arrested by FBI agents on November 28, 2019 after attending an IT conference in North Korea in April that year
The prosecution then accused him of attending as a kind of service for the North Korean government through which he allegedly passed on „valuable information“ to members of the government. In addition, he took part in „talks“ on the use of blockchain technology to circumvent sanctions.
Griffith replied that the presentation he gave at the conference was merely „very general and only contained information that is publicly available anyway.“
In this regard, the question now arises for the court whether the mere planning and holding of the presentation can be interpreted as a violation of American sanctions.
In his contradiction, Griffith also claims that he was not paid to attend and that he did not sign any consulting contract. Accordingly, his lecture was not a „service“ for the North Korean government. He also sees his right to free speech protected by the American constitution.
In conclusion, Griffith argues that his presentation is protected by an exception in international law that legitimizes the sharing of „information“ and „information materials“.
So it says in his contradiction:
„If Mr. Griffith’s lecture is not classified as disseminating ‚information‘, what then?“
As Cointelegraph reported , the case divides the crypto community.
Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin defended Griffith in December:
“I think what Virgil did didn’t help the North Korean government do anything bad. He gave a talk based on publicly available information about open source software. He did not impart advanced hacking expertise. […] In addition, Virgil did not derive any private advantage from participating. […] I hope that the USA will take care of the really important things and not about computer scientists giving the lectures. „