Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin has said many people “counseled against” Virgil Griffith’s trip to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, otherwise known as North Korea.
The co-founder of Ethereum, while also joining others to sign a petition demanding the release of Griffith, said Ethereum Foundation did not offer Virgil any assistance on the trip, adding that he did it on personal capacity despite people counseling against the trip.
Vitalik, dissociating the Ethereum foundation from Griffith’s actions, advised that the United State show strength rather than weakness, by focusing on genuine and harmful corruption rather than going “after programmers delivering speeches” on blockchain technology.
He queried the United States government over the arrest of Virgil Griffith who was accused of contravening “the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (“IEEPA”) by traveling to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (“DPRK” or “North Korea”) in order deliver a presentation and technical advice on using cryptocurrency and blockchain technology to evade sanctions.
Vitalik posited that the geopolitical “open-mindedness” displayed by Griffith is a big virtue worth being admired, adding that the likes of Griffith are making the world better.
“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 out what they have to say”.
Expunging Griffith from the offense, Vitalik said he did not give “DRPK any kind of real help in doing anything bad”, concluding that he only delivered a presentation based on the normal information available to the public on open-source software, and made no personal gain from the trip.
“There was no weird hackery “advanced tutoring”,” he said.
I refuse to take the convenient path of throwing Virgil under the bus, because I firmly believe that that would be wrong. I'm signing. Reasoning below.https://t.co/E44p5caeJO
— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) December 1, 2019
In a jointly worded statement by the US Attorney and FBI, Griffith was allegedly aiding the North Korea in circumventing sanction to be able to obtain technology, information, and funding to build nuclear weapons that puts the world at risk.
Griffith delivered a presentation at the “Pyongyang Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference” after he was warned not to do so.
At the moment, the US Attorney says it is seeking justice for such conduct. The present allegation by the United States Attorney puts Griffith at the risk of 20-year imprisonment.