US crypto researcher jailed for 63 months for violating North Korean sanctions

April 13, 2022

By Anjali Kochhar

Ethereum developer and cryptocurrency researcher Virgil Griffith has been sentenced to five years and three months Tuesday. This comes after he pleaded guilty to the charge brought on speaking at a crypto conference in North Korea.

As per the U.S. Department of Justice, Griffith’s presentation provided the Kim Jong Un regime with technical advice on how to use crypto and blockchain technology to evade sanctions.

The researcher pleaded guilty in September last year to conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. The charge has a maximum of 20 years in prison. However, in a plea deal, prosecutors agreed to seek no more than six and a half years.

Griffith formerly worked for the Ethereum Foundation, a non-profit that works to support the technology behind the cryptocurrency ether.

The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel. Castel also fined Griffith $100,000, below the $1 million prosecutors suggested.

Griffith’s attorney Brian Klein said in a statement that while the sentence was disappointing, the judge “acknowledged Virgil’s commitment to moving forward with his life productively, and that he is a talented person who has a lot to contribute.”

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement on Tuesday that “justice has been served.”


About the author

Anjali Kochhar covers cryptocurrency stories in India as well as globally. Having been in the field of media and journalism for over three years now, she has developed a sharp news sense and works hard to present information that goes beyond the obvious. She is an avid reader and loves writing on a wide range of subjects.

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