Vitalik Buterin has added his voice in the attempt to free Virgil Griffith from detainment. He was arrested for reportedly helping the North Korean regime to avoid sanctions, by presenting the capabilities of digital currencies.
Buterin believes the crypto community should not “throw Griffith under the bus”, and signed the petition to free him.
While most crypto supporters believed presenting the case for using crypto assets in Pyongyang was not a good idea, the arrest was also seen as going too far.
US authorities tweeted that the information shared was “highly technical” and would have allowed the North Korea regime to achieve money-laundering feats.
In general, Ethereum is censorship-resistant, though transactions are transparent. Coins can be tracked, and addresses are often watched. But there are lesser-known ways to hide the origin of coins, and the Ethereum network may also offer anonymity solutions in the future. So far, the entire presentation of Griffith, “Blockchain and Peace”, has not been presented, but some slides suggest knowledge was shared on cross-border transactions.
Griffith’s defender stated that the presentation was nothing special, and no information was shared that was not already freely available and known. Still, according to the US Justice Department, the Ethereum developer broke the embargo against North Korea.
Griffith reportedly visited the country through China, getting a visa on the spot, despite the initial ban to travel to the crypto conference.
North Korea has been known for its interest in digital coins, going as far as to attempt to build its own crypto asset . But the country is also notorious for its reported support of the Lazarus hacker group. North Korea has also been accused of hacking South Korean crypto exchanges.
The US has threatened to arrest and sanction traders for holding the Venezuelan Petro. But Griffith’s arrest is the first case of a direct crypto-related sanction, especially for simply sharing information on Ethereum.
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