US citizen Arrested After he to Talk about crypto money In North Korea
MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:
on Last Thursday, so Thanksgiving Day, a 36-year-old American man by the name of Virgil Griffith stepped from a plane at Los Angeles International airport and was arrested. The Ministry of justice has calculated, Griffith, help, the North Korea sanctions Dodge. Griffith is a computer scientist, and he had money, a conversation at the beginning of this year, with a Pyongyang-conference for crypto. The authorities say he discussed how to launder money, and soft sanctions. I’m joined now by Jason Brett, who wrote about this for forbes.com.
thank you for coming in.
JASON BRETT: thank you for me.
KELLY: So Virgil Griffith, I gather, is something of a well-known guy in technology circles. You tell me about him.
BOARD: Yes. Virgil Griffith is a well-known hacker, and he is a bit of a Cypher-punk (ph). That cypher as C-Y-P-He-R-punk…
KELLY: I was about to ask you, yeah.
BOARD: Mmm-hmm, Yes – the people who really believe in this cryptography, the really behind the crypto money blockchain and style, the ethos, and you are free to go wherever in the world you can go, to teach them, because they really believe that it is something that can change the world.
KELLY: What’s his interest in North Korea?
BOARD: So Virgil Griffith is currently a computer scientist who is working on the Ethereum Foundation, which is one of the largest cryptocurrencies, second only to bitcoin. His interest is not clear. However, it has been shown that he said the people back in 2018, he wanted to go to crypto money up. And the title of the speech he made when he was in the North was called the Korea Blockchain and peace.
So, it seems, he believed that he is trying to help North Korea. However, in text messages, that the justice received the Ministry, as he asked, what is North Korea want to know about the crypto-money? – he said, maybe the circumvention of the sanctions. Who knows?
KELLY: What has the Ministry of justice claims here? I mean, give me a little more detail in terms of what you charged him with.
BOARD: sure, sure. So if you have him, free of charge, with the onset of the IEEPA, the international protection of the act, starting with George Bush in 2008. In this executive order, it said that it is know unusual circumstances in which North Korea may be acting in a way that you can fire nuclear missiles on the USA, and there were questions about how you can make money on it. And then in 2016, Obama OFAC regime added to say, if you have any products or services or technologies to North Korea, which is also a violation of sanctions.
KELLY: the OFAC is the U.S. government Agency that enforces sanctions?
BOARD: Mmm hmm, Yes. The problem with crypto money is that crypto money is probably now of North Korea as a way of bypassing the international banking sanctions. And so this is a way that you can build with this money, their nuclear weapons.
KELLY: Give me a sense of how this fits in General in the U.S. concerns about crypto-money. I mean, it is, of course, only North Korea that the US is pursuing exactly, but also other governments and how they might apply and what threats could represent.
BOARD: Yeah absolutely. So the US government has now crypto-money for a long time. And it is a recurring theme for you with this new technology, because they are really weakening of the US dollar talk about the possibility of imposing sanctions on countries. And so for the United States, it is an issue that you before ’cause this new technology is very disturbing.
KELLY: What could happen next for Virgil Griffith?
BOARD: So Virgil Griffith has a excellent lawyer that represented him, others in the crypto-money space in these situations. You know, he is facing up to 20 years in prison for violation of the sanctions. I think it is definitely an interesting study, because it will have too much to do with his motives. But it is also – for many people in the community, like me, we don’t want to see the technology
KELLY: Jason, Brett, contribution to the forbes.com. A fascinating report – thanks for sharing.
BOARD: Thank you.
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Released on Fri, 05 Dec 2019 21:22:00 +0000