- Former Ethereum developer Virgil Griffith is behind bars having violated his bail conditions
- Griffith, who travelled illegally to North Korea to speak at a blockchain conference in 2019, accessed his Coinbase account in May
- Griffiths allegedly advised attendees how to avoid sanctions using cryptocurrencies
Virgil Griffith, the self-styled “disruptive technologist” who is due to stand trial accused of aiding a sanctioned country, is getting a taste of life behind bars after he violated a condition of his bail. Griffith, who U.S. authorities allege helped North Korean conference attendees understand how to hide funds through cryptocurrencies, was not allowed to access his cryptocurrency accounts as part of his bail agreement, but in May he tried to access his Coinbase account. This could result in a spell of some eight weeks behind bars ahead of his trial in September, which could see him jailed for up to 20 years if found guilty.
Griffith Travelled Illegally to North Korea
Griffith is a former Ethereum foundation researcher who travelled to North Korea in April 2019 to speak at the Pyongyang Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference. U.S. authorities had earlier denied him a visa, leading to him smuggling himself in via China. He gave a presentation called ‘Blockchain and Peace’ after which he is alleged to have entered into discussions with attendees over methods of using cryptocurrency and blockchain technology to evade US sanctions.
Griffith was arrested in November 2019 at Los Angeles National Airport on charges of aiding a sanctioned country, since when he has been preparing for trial.
Coinbase Wallet Access Enough to Take Him Down
These preparations have now been hampered somewhat after he tried to access his Ethereum funds on May 14 in violation of his bail conditions, although his attorney claims it was a member of Griffiths’ family who actually tried to gain access.
Griffiths’ ETH holdings had risen past $1 million thanks to Ethereum’s rise to $4,185, which topped out right around the time that the attempt to access Coinbase was made. Griffith, whose motion to dismiss the trial was rejected by the judge in October last year, may now spend the rest of his free time in prison awaiting his trial.