The cryptocurrency market is no stranger to controversies and the people involved in the space have always kept a tab on the issues. There are some problems, however, that have needed the intervention of the judicial courts.
In the latest series of events, Virgil Griffith, the American programmer pleaded not guilty in his case related to attending a cryptocurrency conference in North Korea.
Griffith had attended the conference in April 2019 even after multiple warnings were issued against the same. By traveling to the infamous country, Griffith had violated the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. Appealing to the Southern District of New York courthouse, Griffith claimed that he did not do any wrong and that he was a ‘disruptive technologist’.
Griffith’s attorney Brian Klein had strong opinions on the charges filed against his client. He claimed that Griffith should never have been indicted in the case and that the will ensure the jury knows all the information before a decision is made. Klein and Griffith both walk on thin ice because if they lose the case, Griffith could face a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.
The original complaint stemmed from the fact that the US State Department had denied Griffith the permission to fly to DPRK. According to the State Department:
“[Griffith traveled to DPRK via China and]…provided the DPRK with valuable information on blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies, and participated in discussions regarding using cryptocurrency technologies to evade sanctions and launder money.”
Prosecutors have put forth statements that there are more documents left to be produced. The focus is pretty high on this case because of its impact on the cryptocurrency industry. It is the first case in the cryptocurrency industry involving sanctions.
Lawmakers outside of this jurisdiction have also commented on the issue. Chervinksy stated that not all the odds are stacked against Griffith. According to him, his prosecutors have materials that could exonerate him.
The Griffith case is not the first time that United States lawmakers have had to deal with international policies. That is the exact reason why the Department of Justice set up the National Security Division. The law, according to the body applies equally regardless of the type of financial tool that a defendant uses to violate national law.
On the other side, North Korea is in the early stages of building its own cryptocurrency. Following this, the United Nations imposed warnings on people attending the conference.