A Former Ether Developer Faces 63 Months In Prison

A former developer from Ethereum, Virgil Griffith, has been given a sentence of 63 months of imprisonment along with recompensing $100,000 as a fine for participating in a conference as well as helping North Korea to utilize blockchain technology in breaching the economic sanctions implemented on the behalf of the United States.

Kevin Castel (a District Judge from Southern New York district), on Tuesday, declared the decision. It was noted by Judge Castel that the case includes a willful and deliberate intent to surpass the sanctions’ administration. He added that the criminal further worsen the malicious activity thereof as he had an intention to make people aware of how they can circumvent sanctions.

In September previous year, Griffith admitted his guilt for conspiring to infringe the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, a law that prohibits the U.S. residents from shipping technology, services, or goods to North Korea if someone does not have a license provided on the behalf of the Department of the Treasury, OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control). At the beginning of 2019, Griffith remained ineffective in obtaining approval from U.S. officials to move to North Korea.

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However, in April, he traveled to Pyongyang to attend the Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference. He, while appearing at the respective conference, delivered presentations a North Korean attire. The topic of his discussions was money laundering, as well as the evasion of sanctions with the utilization of cryptocurrencies. In addition to this, he presented techniques to provide advantages to the country in the negotiations between North Korea and the United States regarding nuclear weapons.

In an endeavor to decrease the sentence, Griffith’s defense group provided evidence of the aspects that may be responsible for his irrational behavior. They presented Griffith’s psychological assessment showing that he suffers from both the NPD (narcissistic personality disorder) and OCPD (obsessive-compulsive personality disorder). It was mentioned by the defense team thereof that NPD and OCPD’s diagnosis elaborated on Griffith’s obsession with North Korea.

They also asserted that it compelled him not to adhere to the warnings given by the government, family, as well as his friends regarding the unsanctioned travel to North Korea. A chance was given to Griffith to speak at his case’s hearing and he expressed his regret for the actions done by him, adding that the sanctions that were imposed on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine played an important role in curing his obsession.