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Virgil Griffith Has Sanction Charge Dismissal Argument Labelled “Absurd”

A legal memo was filed by lawyers standing as representatives of the US government. This memo completely opposed Virgil Griffith’s proposed dismissal of charges. Griffith stands as a former researcher from the Ethereum Foundation, and has been charged with conspiracy to violate US sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or DPRK, commonly referred to as North Korea.

Comparing Crypto To Nuclear Technology

As the court records filed on the 19th of November at the New York Southern District Court shows, prosecutors had dismissed Griffith’s argument filed on the 22nd of October, 2020. Griffith had argued for dismissal of the charges against him, describing them as “unavailing.”.

The former research of the Ethereum Foundation giving insight regarding blockchain technology is being compared to a US citizen giving insights regarding nuclear secrets.

In particular, they put up a hypothetical to show their claimed absurdity of the matter. They highlighted that the sanctions against North Korea could, by Griffith’s logic, not be violated even if a US physicist traveled to the hermit kingdom to divulge the science behind nuclear weapons.

Should this physicist explain only science viable on the Internet, having received no fee from this DPRK physicist conference, and the country itself doesn’t plan to economically gain from it, the scientist should be legally capable of doing so. As such, the lawyers are calling Griffith’s motion for dismissal as absurd, even if they went and used one of the most extreme examples they could possibly think of to prove this point.

A Bit Of History

Griffith was indicted by the US court back in January of this year, having been charged with conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. This occurred after Griffith had given a presentation at a conference in North Korea, having done so back in April of 2019.

As the allegations claimed, this speech contained valuable information that can be used by agents of North Korea to bypass the economic sanctions against the country through blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies.

It’s alleged by federal authorities that Griffith was intimately aware of the DPRK’s special interest in bypassing global sanctions through blockchain technology. These authorities claimed that Griffith had gone as far as text an associate, making his plan to transact 1 ETH between North and South Korea while knowing full well these sanctions would be violated.

Claims Of Being Too General To Be Useful

Even so, Griffith had argued that his speech was an extremely general one, completely based on publicly available information. He highlighted the lack of fees he received from doing so, and claimed that the speech itself had no utility economically speaking. As such, Griffith cites the First Amendment, claiming his speech is protected under it.

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      A journalist, with experience in web journalism and marketing. Ali holds a master's degree in finance and enjoys writing about cryptocurrencies and fintech. Ali’s work has been published on a number of cryptocurrency publications.