Cryptocurrency Expert, 36, Faces 20 Years in Jail After Being Charged with Helping North Korea Evade Sanctions with Blockchain Talk - Dumbass talked to the FBI with no attorney present

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The Defenestrator
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  • Virgil Griffith, 36, is a US programmer and computer hacker living in Singapore
  • Federal government is charging him with conspiring to violate economic sanctions against North Korea
  • Griffith spoke at a Pyongyang conference in April during which he provided info on how North Korea could gain 'independence from global banking system'
  • Prosecutors say Griffith offered 'technical' advice on how the North Koreans could launder money in violation of US sanctions
  • His arrest comes after he showed FBI pictures of his trip to North Korea and insisted on speaking with investigators without a lawyer
  • He was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport on Thursday and was scheduled to appear in federal court on Friday
  • If convicted, Griffith faces a maximum of 20 years in federal prison
Federal prosecutors have charged a cryptocurrency expert with violating economic sanctions against North Korea by presenting at a conference there this year after the US government denied his request to travel to Pyongyang.

Virgil Griffith, 36, was awaiting a federal court appearance Friday in Los Angeles, a day after he was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport.

Griffith is an American citizen but lives in Singapore. Messages were sent to Griffith's defense attorney seeking comment.

Federal prosecutors said Griffith secured a visa through 'a (North Korean) diplomatic mission facility' in Manhattan for 100 euros and then traveled to the country through China in April.

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Virgil Griffith, 36, an American computer programmer and hacker living in Singapore, was arrested by federal agents at Los Angeles International Airport on Thursday
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He was due to appear in federal court on Friday to answer charges of helping North Korea evade sanctions
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Griffith admitted to attending a blockchain and cryptocurrency conference in Pyongyang last April in defiance of a US government ban

A request for comment was sent to North Korea's United Nations mission in New York.

At the conference, Griffith talked about how North Korea could use cryptocurrency to 'achieve independence from the global banking system,' according to a criminal complaint.

The conference was attended by 100 people, prosecutors said, including several who appeared to work for the North Korean government.

The criminal complaint says Griffith showed the FBI photographs of himself in North Korea and provided agents with propaganda from the country.

It said Griffith planned to facilitate the exchange of cryptocurrency between North and South Korea and encouraged other US citizens to attend the same conference next year.

'Griffith announced his intention to renounce his US citizenship and began researching how to purchase citizenship from other countries,' the U.S. Attorney´s Office in Manhattan said in a news release.

Prosecutors say another person involved in the alleged conspiracy was to be brought to New York and arrested.

That person is not named in the criminal complaint against Griffith.

The US attorney in Manhattan, Geoffrey Berman, said Griffith 'provided highly technical information to North Korea, knowing that this information could be used to help North Korea launder money and evade sanctions.'

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Griffith posted an image on social media showing the visa he obtained from the government of North Korea
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Griffith also posted images of bank notes from North Korea on his Facebook page

Griffith has contributed to the hacker magazine 2600, which tweeted Friday that Griffith's arrest amounted to 'an attack on all of us.'

'I kept warning him it was a trap,' the magazine's editor, Emmanuel Goldstein said in a separate Twitter post, adding Griffith 'insisted on' speaking to the FBI without a lawyer.

'What´s ironic is that afterwards, he was convinced they totally got where he was coming from.'

The US and the UN Security Council have imposed increasingly tight sanctions on North Korea in recent years to try to rein in its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Pyongyang says it wants the US to get the sanctions lifted and provide security guarantees before North Korea will abandon its advancing nuclear arsenal; the US has said the North has to take substantial steps toward denuclearization before the sanctions will come off.

The US government amended sanctions against North Korea in 2018 to prohibit 'a US person, wherever located' from exporting technology to North Korea.

Prosecutors said Griffith acknowledged that his presentation amounted to a transfer of technical knowledge to conference attendees.

A self-described former hacker who went on to get a doctorate in computer science, Griffith became something of a tech-world enfant terrible in the early 2000s.

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The indictment against Griffith alleges that he knew he was transferring technology to people attending the conference who were likely representatives of the North Korean government
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He told The New York Times in 2008 that he considered himself a 'disruptive technologist.'

In 2007, he created WikiScanner, a tool that aimed to unmask people who anonymously edited entries in Wikipedia, the crowdsourced online encyclopedia.

WikiScanner essentially could determine the business, institutions or government agencies that owned the computers from which some edits were made.

It quickly identified businesses that had sabotaged competitors' entries and government agencies that had rewritten history, among other findings.

'I am quite pleased to see the mainstream media enjoying the public-relations disaster fireworks as I am,' Griffiths told The Associated Press in 2007.

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Griffith is said to have insisted on speaking to the FBI without having a lawyer present

(Wikipedia creator Jimmy Wales, for his part, said he welcomed WikiScanner as a tool of transparency.)

Four years earlier, as a college student at the University of Alabama, Griffith and a student at another university were about to tell a hacker conference about purported security flaws in a widely used campus debit card system when the manufacturer sued the two.

They had posted online about ways to exploit the alleged flaws to get free vending-machine sodas, laundry machine use and more.

A judge barred the students from discussing the card-swiping system.

In a settlement a few months later, they apologized to the company, promised to never actually build a transaction-processing device and agreed to complete 40 hours of community service.

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TL;DR: Play stupid games, win stupid prizes. The guy directly disobeyed US order - his request to travel to Pyongyang was refused - to not go to a blockchain conference in Pyongyang and - indirectly - teach North Koreans how to money launder using cryptocurrency. This is only made worse by the fact he talked to the FBI with no attorney present. There's believing in your ideals and then there's this guy.
 

Dick Pooman

Muchacho Sauce
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All Kim Jong-un needed to do was get his people out of the coal mines and into an office where they can farm BAT by clicking on ads in Brave. Simple as.
 

dreamworks face

Model bugman
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The dude (probably) presented nothing about cryptocurrency that one couldn't find online with a few choice google searches, and I was feeling the tiniest swell of sympathy, but..
  • Look at this dude's pictures. He even took a selfie with the Google glass - that's Yaniv-level autism.
  • He talked to the FBI without a lawyer!!!!!! I wouldn't pay a fucking speeding ticket without a lawyer, clearly this dude has never experienced the american justice system before.
  • Faggot wrote an auto-dox for people who post on wikipedia.
In principle I get where he's coming from, but I grew out of that phase where I just go around talking about security shit to authority figures and classmates when I was in goddamn high school because it led to Bad Things.
 

Tookie

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Not only did he talk to the FBI without a lawyer, but he "insisted" on it. I'm not sure this could have been handled any more badly. I can't decide if he's an autistic buffoon or if he's leaning into getting prosecuted to be some kind of martyr (leaning towards buffoon).
 

AnOminous

Really?
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Not only did he talk to the FBI without a lawyer, but he "insisted" on it. I'm not sure this could have been handled any more badly. I can't decide if he's an autistic buffoon or if he's leaning into getting prosecuted to be some kind of martyr (leaning towards buffoon).
Buffoon martyr. Maybe he thinks when he's in federal prison, he can convince the gangs to start using cryptocurrency instead of what they'd usually use as currency in prison, like ramen noodles or his white ass.
 

Tookie

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Buffoon martyr. Maybe he thinks when he's in federal prison, he can convince the gangs to start using cryptocurrency instead of what they'd usually use as currency in prison, like ramen noodles or his white ass.
The countdown timer starts now to when he troons out in prison ala Bradley Manning.
 

AnOminous

Really?
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According to his linkedin he is a research scientist at Ethereum. No wonder the feds were watching him closely. He knew what he was doing. Imagine Raytheon going to Iran to help them develop missiles.
He's an absolute fucking idiot and they will probably use him to try to fuck crypto in general somehow. If he somehow skates without doing time you know how he managed it.
 
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mindlessobserver

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Absolutely retarded. Where to start

1. He kept US citizenship while living abroad. Just because you live in another country does not exempt you from the loving embrace of Uncle Sugar. No matter where you are on the planet, if you are there with a US passport you are bound by the laws of the United States.

2. Ever since Best Korea killed that UVA student, US citizens are not just discouraged from going to North Korea, it is now illegal. The feds are tired of having to do a dog and pony show every time dear leader arrests a US citizen. So any American who enters that hell hole passes beyond the Emperors light and into damnation.

3. Why on gods green earth would you then break the flat travel sanction to go and give a symposium on how to circumvent US financial restrictions while also carrying US citizenship.

4. When HIS most holy inquisition starts asking you about the nature of your guilt, you actually tell them instead of running as fast as you can?

Dude is going to be burned at the stake. And it's all his fault.
 

AnOminous

Really?
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He willingly spoke to the glow in the darks instead of running them over.
But he's so much smarter than they are that this was totally going to work out for him, he'd never be charged with anything despite openly boasting about breaking the law, and the glow in the darks would be so amazed by his brilliance and integrity that they'd instantly turn into honkies, everyone on the bus would get up and applaud, and the CIA agent in the back of the room would turn out to be Albert Einstein.
 
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Pargon

He don't
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Posting on Facebook? Google Glass selfie???

This was just some faggot normie who got really lucky, then very stupid, in quick succession. Plenty more meat for the grinder where that came from.
 
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