Ethereum Developer Pleads Guilty For Aiding North Korea

By Prashant Jha
Published September 28, 2021 Updated September 28, 2021
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Virgil Griffith

Ethereum Developer Pleads Guilty For Aiding North Korea

By Prashant Jha
Published September 28, 2021 Updated September 28, 2021

Virgil Griffith, a former Ethereum developer who was also famous as “Chinese Vitalik” has pled guilty for violating sanctions against North Korea. The former developer has pled guilty on one charge of conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. Sentencing in the case would be done in January 2022 and Griffith could be sent behind the bars for up to 78 months.

The Ethereum developer was arrested in November 2019 after giving a presentation on how to use crypto assets to avoid international sanctions at a North Korean cryptocurrency conference. The charges were quite serious even though the exact details of the conference were not revealed. The US authorities claimed Griffith tried recruiting other people for the presentation as well and went onto the conference despite not getting clearance to travel to the North Korean capital.

Griffith was reportedly warned against doing it beforehand. Griffith is currently in jail after violating his bail agreement in 2020. Griffith reportedly tried accessing his Coinbase account against the bail term leading to his arrest again.

Plea Deal Comes as a Surprise

Griffith’s plea deal came as a surprise to many as his attorney has been preparing for a trial and the jury was also finalized on Monday morning. However, it seems the plea deal agreement was reached over the weekend. As part of the deal, Griffith would also forfeit any proceeds he gained from the conference in North Korea.

The plea deal also marks the end of the two-year-long legal battle that the former Ethereum developer has been going through. Griffith’s lawyer also requested shifting him from his current Metropolitan Correctional Center to Essex County Correctional Facility in Newark citing very difficult conditions.

The recent price slump for ETH was also attributed to confusion among Chinese users who call Griffith Vitalik and believed the founder of Ethereum was arrested, thus leading to a sell-off.


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About Author
Prashant Jha
1090 Articles
An engineering graduate, Prashant focuses on UK and Indian markets. As a crypto-journalist, his interests lie in blockchain technology adoption across emerging economies.

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