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Ethereum developer faces five years in prison for collaborating with North Korea

Ethereum developer faces five years in prison for collaborating with North Korea

A programmer disclosed to North Korea how to circumvent sanctions by using cryptocurrencies. 

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 39-year-old programmer Virgil Griffith has been helping the DPRK develop a cryptocurrency infrastructure for mining since 2018. In 2019, he even visited the country as a speaker at a blockchain conference, despite a ban from the U.S. authorities. At the conference, he talked about how smart contracts can be used to circumvent U.S. sanctions and money laundering. Authorities also claimed that he planned to assist in organizing a cryptocurrency exchange between the DPRK and South Korea. Other charges included attempts to recruit other programmers to work together.   

In November 2019, FBI officials arrested him on charges of violating U.S. sanctions and dealing with North Korea. He then was released on bail in 2020 and jailed again in 2021 until pleading guilty in September 2021. The court sentenced him to 63 months in prison and a $100,000 fine.

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