Virgil Griffith Pleads Innocent in Blockchain North Korea Event Case – Faces Up To 20 Years in Prison if Convicted

He was originally arrested on Thanksgiving, 2019 on federal charges of illegally traveling to North Korea to provide cryptocurrency advice at a North Korea Blockchain event.

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36-year-old cryptocurrency specialist Virgil Griffith – who was recently arrested by American authorities for allegedly helping North Korea use blockchain technology in violation of US sanctions – has pleaded not guilty in court today.

Griffith was formally indicted for “conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act,”  and his case was been assigned to SDNY Judge P. Kevin Castel in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

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On January 7, 2020, according to a Forbes article, a Grand Jury indicted Virgil Griffith and he will stand trial for travelling to North Korea to teach cryptocurrency and blockchain. He has a doctorate from the California Institute of Technology and works for the Ethereum Foundation, who are up in arms over the charges.

As previously reported in Blockchain News, he could face up to 20 years in prison.

OK- here for Virgil Griffith’s appeal of his Dec 26 bail denial for alleged crypto violation of #NorthKorea sanctions, which Inner City Press also exclusively covered @SDNYLIVE. This time Virgil has two lawyers. Here comes Judge Broderck. “All rise” – thread

— Inner City Press (@innercitypress) December 30, 2019

Matthew Russell Lee, from Inner City Press was there on January 30, 2020, with Griffith and his now three lawyers:

“Griffith wore a grey jacket, and laughed when the lawyers joked that the next date in the case will be March 17, St. Patrick’s Day: “Wear a green tie.”

When asked how he pled, Griffith said, “Innocent.”

The US Attorney’s Office said it had given some discovery on January 24, with more in two weeks. But when asked for a list of other attendees of the North Korea conference, the reply is that it is not required. Griffith’s team may seek Rule 15 testimony overseas, and politely declined Inner City Press’ question afterward about the other person referenced in the charging documents.”

North Korea has been under U.N. sanctions since 2006 over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. The 15-member Security Council has unanimously strengthened those measures over the years, prompting Pyongyang to look for alternative ways to make money.

The 2nd Pyongyang Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference will be held from February 22- 29, 2020.

About Richard Kastelein

In his 20s, he sailed around the world on small yachts and wrote a series of travel articles called, ' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Seas' travelling by hitching rides on yachts (1989) in major travel and yachting publications. He currently lives in Groningen, the Netherlands where he has set down his anchor to raise a family and write.

Founder and publisher of industry publication Blockchain News (EST 2015) and director of education company Blockchain Partners (Oracle Partner) – Vancouver native Richard Kastelein is an award-winning publisher, innovation executive and entrepreneur. He has written over 2500 articles on Blockchain technology and startups at Blockchain News and has also published in Harvard Business Review, Venturebeat, Wired, The Guardian and a number of other publications.

Kastelein has an Honorary Ph.D. and is Chair Professor of Blockchain at China's first blockchain University in Nanchang at the Jiangxi Ahead Institute software and Technology. He has over a half a decade experience judging and rewarding some 1000+ innovation projects as an EU expert for the EuropeanCommission's SME Instrument programme as a startup assessor and as a startup judge for the UK government's Innovate UK division. Kastelein has spoken (keynotes & panels) on Blockchain technology at over 50 events in 30+ cities.

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