The co-founder of ETH, Vitalik Buterin, publicly expressed his support of the suggested crypto -community petition to free American programmer and Ethereum employee, Virgil Griffith.
Griffith was arrested on November 28th by the U.S. government in New York. Authorities suspect Griffith to have helped North Korea evade U.S. sanctions when he was giving a speech about blockchain and peace in the country.
The petition, which was started by the CEO and co-founder of commerc.io Enrico Talin, is based on the fact that Griffith did not reveal anything that is not already common knowledge.
Virgil’s Personal Trip to North Korea Promotes Geopolitical Open-Mindedness
Buterin stated that his position is based on the fact that he does not believe the information given by Virgil is public information with no advanced tutoring for “weird hackery.”
“Geopolitical open-mindedness is a *virtue*. It’s *admirable* to go to a group of people that one has been trained since childhood to believe is a Maximum Evil Enemy, and hear what they have to say. The world would be better if more people on all sides did that.”
Talin called on Buterin personally to help start the petition as Griffith was well within his American rights to share his opinions at the Pyongyang Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference:
“In general, I truly, honestly think Virgil is someone that wants to bridge gaps.”
Although the Ethereum Foundation is still yet to comment on the matter, Vitalik clearly indicated his support is as a result of his friendship with Virgil and the fact that he did not do anything wrong.
Griffith Faces Up To 20 Years Prison Time If Found Guilty
In April, Virgil Griffith, who lives in Singapore, circumnavigated an American travel ban by using a diplomatic visa to travel to North Korea by going through China. U.S. Federal Investigators claimed that he gave a talk at the conference on how to launder money by using cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.
According to the U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman, Griffith jeopardized the sanctions that both the president and Congress have enacted to put maximum pressure on the DPRK dangerous regime.
A recently unsealed criminal complaint stated that the U.S. government had denied him permission to travel to North Korea, but Griffith went anyway. The Assistant Attorney General for the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office stated:
“Despite receiving warnings not to go, Griffith allegedly traveled to one of the United States’ foremost adversaries, North Korea, where he taught his audience how to use blockchain technology to evade sanctions. By this complaint, we begin the process of seeking justice for such conduct.”
The prosecution is charging Griffith with conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Act (IEEPA which carries a maximum of 20 years in prison. The charge will, however, remain a mere accusation, with the defendant presumed innocent until otherwise proven guilty.