Virgil Griffith, an Ethereum Foundation Researcher is about to be indicted by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Court records indicate that he was indicted by a grand jury on 7th January 2020. According to the charge sheet, Mr. Griffith is facing charges related to a conspiracy to violate the IEEPA (International Emergency Economic Powers Act).
The federal law was introduced by the United States federal government in 1977. It’s a law that provides the president with sweeping powers to regulate global trade in the event of a national emergency, more so, an emergency that is coming from outside the country’s borders. Virgil is being accused of willfully and knowingly attempting to violate the sanctions that have been placed against the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea).
Virgil Griffith’s Arrest
His arrest was executed in late 2019 where he was charged with giving a presentation on how North Koreans can use cryptocurrency and other digital assets, including the blockchain infrastructure to bypass the restrictions placed on the country by global powerhouses. Prosecutors believe that Virgil did so together with the help of others.
A second party is expected to be arrested and arraigned in the Southern District of New York. His charge sheet as presented by the prosecutor’s office reads:
“It was a part and an object of the conspiracy that Virgil Griffith, the defendant, and others known and unknown, would and did provide and cause others to provide services to the DPRK, without first obtaining the required approval.”
The same court is also asking the authorities to seize any property that Virgil may have purchased or earned from the activities he engaged in while in the DPRK. If found guilty, he may spend up to twenty years behind bars.
Varied Sentiments in the Crypto Community
The cryptocurrency community has been divided along the middle with different people expressing different opinions. Vitalik Buterin, the Ethereum founder stated in December 2019 that Virgil’s actions were a good indication of the benefits that come with geopolitical open-mindedness.
Credit: Document uploaded by CoinDesk