04-13-2022 icon

Former Ethereum developer bags 5 years jail term after North Korea trip

By Lucy Adegbe

Virgil Griffith, a former developer with the Ethereum Network has been handed a 63-month jail term and fined $100,000 after he helped North Koreans use cryptocurrencies to evade sanctions.

The developer was arrested in November 2019 after he made a speech at a conference in Pyongyang in April of the same year. 

In September 2021, he pleaded guilty to helping North Koreans evade international sanctions. Under normal circumstances, the crime attracts a penalty of 20 years. But Griffiths entered a plea deal with prosecutors, a development that reduced the penalty to 63 to 78 months jail term.

The developer had spent approximately two years in custody out of which he was on bail for 14 months. This means 10 months will be considered as term served and subtracted from his jail term.

Prior to his sentence, Griffith and his attorney, Brian Klein, were allowed to make last objections and remarks. His attorney urged Judge Castel to consider factors that were uncounted for in the prosecuting guidelines, especially the harsh conditions at the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) where the developer had been held.