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Ex-Developer of Ethereum Network Admits His Guilt over Disclosing Blockchain Technology to North Korea

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Oct 2, 2021

Virgil Griffith, who was known for being amongst one of the developers who assisted in establishing the Ethereum network, was appeared before a New York District Court for facing charges level against him by North Korea. He was accused of discussing and revealing key information with regard to the blockchain technology, which he was part of, with enemy state i.e. North Korea. With the proceeding of the trial, he pleaded guilty and earned the right to enter into a plea bargain for avoiding 20 years of jail time. If the plea bargain is accepted, then the 20 years jail time will be reduced to only 6 years and 6 months only.

Yesterday, i.e. 27th September 2021, Virgil Griffith was to be brought before a New York District Court for his trial hearing. The hearing was an hour-long in which firstly the prosecution presented its case before the trial court. However, before the trial could proceed and evidence examined, the Court asked Griffith how he wants to proceed with the trial. He stood up and pleaded guilty in the Courtroom which was overcrowded.

The charges against Griffith was brought up by the US Government. The allegation he was facing was that he had passed on critical information about blockchain technology to the enemy state i.e. North Korea. He was specifically accused of revealing the information in a conference on the same subject held in the enemy state. According to the prosecution, Griffith had intentionally revealed the information to North Korea which could have been misused by North Korea. The prosecution claimed that compromising such information could allow North Korea to avoid sanctions and indulge in money laundering practices.

However, during the time, when the prosecution was building up its case, Griffith was put on house arrest. Since then he was living in the house along with his parents. In the meanwhile, Griffith at one occasion took the liberty of accessing his Binance account in violation of the terms of his bail. However, the authorities came to know of his violation and immediately took him into judicial custody. He also lost the liberty of being house arrest and is now under judicial lockup.

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When the District Court took up his matter on 27th he pleaded guilty. This strategy has at least earned him the chance to plea bargain his sentence. In case the trial had proceeded and he had pleaded “not guilty”, then if found guilty, he could be sent jail for serving 20 years. However, now he has been able to reduce the jail time by only 6 years and 6 months. The only condition for such a reduced jail sentence is that the plea bargain will have to be accepted by the Court.

During the hearing, people noticed that Griffith was rather emotional and was having difficulty speaking while breathing at the same time. He is now awaiting his sentence, and acceptance of plea bargain, which the Court will decide in the start of next year.

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