Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin calls for Virgil Griffith’s release

The United States is alleging blockchain technology was used in assisting North Korea to get around sanctions imposed by US against the regime of dictator Kim Jong-un

He showed photos of his trip and said he would like to attend the same conference next year.

On Friday, the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of NY announced that Ethereum Foundation staff member Virgil Griffith was arrested.

An American cryptocurrency expert was arrested in Los Angeles Thursday for allegedly helping North Korea use cryptocurrency to evade US sanctions, according to a criminal complaint from the Department of Justice. That person is not named in the criminal complaint against Griffith.

In a statement to CNN Business after the Monday hearing, Griffith's attorney said his client has been released from jail pending trial. Griffith was released on an $800,000 bond, which his parents and sister agreed to secure with their homes as collateral.

The DOJ also said Griffith announced his intention to renounce his US citizenship and had been researching how to purchase citizenship from other countries.

As previously reported by Hard Fork, Griffith is accused of breaking the International Emergency Economic Powers Act after he allegedly explained to North Korea how blockchain could be leveraged to evade United States sanctions.

During Griffith's presentation, called "Blockchain and Peace", at the cryptocurrency conference, he discussed how blockchain technology could benefit North Korea, according to the criminal complaint.

An Ethereum developer made news last week after being arrested on charges of conspiracy. However, the Federal Bureau of Investigation says Griffith still broke the law. Griffith also acknowledged to agents that attendees who heard him speak left the conference "with a better understanding of cryptocurrency and blockchain than when they arrived" and that his talk amounted to "a transfer of technological knowledge". The court documents implied that Griffith acknowledged that this would violate sanctions against the communist state. Griffith is known for working on a foundation that supports the Ethereum cryptocurrency.

Apart from the impending Istanbul hard fork scheduled to take place in the next few days, the Ethereum Foundation has been making headlines over the arrest of Virgil Griffith, an Ethereum Research Scientist.

That said, Buterin also tempers his statements by saying that Griffith is a "friend of his" and that "this whole thing has nothing to do with the Ethereum Foundation".



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