Virgil Griffith, a researcher at the Ethereum Foundation has been the talk of the cryptocurrency industry this past weekend after traveling to North Korea to speak on blockchain technology. He is accused of going to teach citizens about using blockchain to avoid United States sanctions, despite receiving multiple warnings not to do so.

Griffith, due to his actions, has been placed under arrest and charted with violating “the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA),” reports Forbes. Since then, most of cryptocurrency Twitter has been discussing whether or not these consequences are appropriate.

Most notably, however, is Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin supporting him, stating that he is signing a petition intent on freeing Griffith. This is especially interesting considering that Griffith works with the Ethereum Foundation.

Buterin backs his claim up with a thread as well as a Medium post that proposes the petition idea. The post is written by Enrico Talin, the CEO and Founder of BaaS platform Commerc.io. In it, he notes that the two have been good friends for many years and that Griffith often promotes peace. “In general, I truly, honestly think Virgil is someone that wants to bridge gaps,” it reads.

The Ethereum founder notes that part of his reasoning is that he is also a friend of Griffith, and disclaims that the Ethereum Foundation has nothing to do with his decision.

Buterin goes on, stating that he doesn’t believe Griffith gave out any “advanced tutoring,” but rather that he provided a “presentation based on publicly available info about open-source software.” That, and if the researcher had gone that route in any way, Vitalik would have “reacted much more strongly against it.”

Others on Twitter don’t necessarily agree with Buterin’s claim, despite his influence in the industry.

Griffith currently faces up to twenty years in prison for his actions.


Images are courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter.

Max Moeller

Max is a cryptocurrency journalist with an affinity for games and emerging technology. After leaving school to start a writing career, he wrote his first article on blockchain and fell down the rabbit hole. Since starting in 2017, Max has worked with multiple blockchain startups and crypto enthusiast spaces, doing his best to educate the world on the nascent technology.

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