Virgil Griffith, the embattled Ethereum core developer and researcher who got in hot water for a visit to the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea (DPRK), has been released on bail.
Yesterday, as previously reported by Inside Bitcoins, where he was indicted, the latest development in Griffith’s case, confirms that he had been released from jail. The medium explained that although he was set to be released on December 30, his bail plea was held up for no apparent reason.
Several news outlets already even announced that he had been out. On December 30, Inner City Press claimed that Griffith was released on a $1 million bail, although he was required to stay in his parents’ house in Alabama for “moral suasion.” In addition, he would have been able to use a passport he recently acquired to travel to Canada, Mexico, and several Caribbean countries as well.
Prosecutors Moving Forward with His Case
His final is coming a day after he was formally indicted by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. As Inner City Press also revealed at the time, Griffith was charged by a grand jury with conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which was introduced by the U.S. government to protect the country and national security from foreign entities that have been identified as threats to national interest.
Griffith’s entire case revolves around an ill-fated trip, which the researcher took back in December to the Pyongyang Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference. In an announcement published last month, the Department of Justice explained that Griffith had requested permission to travel to North Korea for the conference, but his request was denied by the State Department. He went on to defy the order anyways, and went to the conference, where he allegedly revealed technical details to hackers and government officials concerning how they could potentially use cryptocurrencies to evade sanctions imposed by Washington.
A Lengthy Trial Awaits Him
His arrest was followed by massive outcry across the crypto space, with Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin pleading with the government via Twitter to release him. In his plea, Buterin expressed assurance that none of the things Griffith divulged at the conference was potentially dangerous information, adding that most of what he said is already available on the internet for anyone to see.
Sadly, the push for his release eventually got halted when James Margolin, the Chief Public Information Officer for the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, shared with Cointelegraph that investigators had found a thread of incriminating text messages on his phone.
As Margolin explained, Griffith had sent texts to several of his family members, where he blatantly denounced his American citizenship. The text messages found also reportedly showed evidence that he was planning to use cryptocurrencies to launder some money while he was in North Korea as well.
Upon his release, Griffith’s lawyer argued that he should never have been charged, while asserting that they would do their best ti fight and get the truth before the grand jury. However, the researcher faces a 2-decade prison term if found guilty.