US Cryptocurrency Developer Imprisoned for Helping North Korea Avoid Sanctions | Science and Technology News-Reuters

US cryptocurrency developers have been imprisoned for five years for helping the North Korean government evade US sanctions imposed on its nuclear weapons program.

Virgil Griffith, 39, convicted of traveling to North Korea (formally the Democratic People s Republic of Korea (DPRK)) to attend a blockchain conference in the capital Pyongyang in April 2019. I admitted, but America. State Department.

At a meeting in Pyongyang, Griffith “provided instructions on how North Korea can use blockchain and cryptocurrency technology to avoid money laundering and sanctions,” according to the Justice Ministry.

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Virgil Griffith is interested in relinquishing his US citizenship. Photo: @ VirgilGr / Twitter

Researchers living in Singapore paid € 100 on a visa attached to another piece of US passport to avoid creating physical evidence of their visit to North Korea.

According to the prosecutor, his presentation was “approved by the North Korean authorities,” “especially on how blockchain technology could be used to benefit North Korea, including nuclear weapons negotiations with the United States. Stated.

After finishing the presentation titled “Blockchain and Peace,” Griffith talked about supporting the cryptocurrency exchange between North Korea and South Korea, saying it violated US sanctions.

After the trip, he also expressed his desire to return to North Korea and apply for another citizenship in the United States.

On the conviction of Griffith, US lawyer Audrey Strauss said, “When he admitted in court, Virgil Griffith agreed to help North Korea, one of our most dangerous foreign enemies.

“Griffith worked with others to provide cryptocurrency services to North Korea, helping North Korea avoid sanctions and traveling to North Korea to do so.

“In the process, Griffith endangered US national security by undermining the sanctions imposed by Congress and the President to put maximum pressure on the threat posed by the traitor’s North Korean government. »»

Overview during launch
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North Korea sanctioned for nuclear weapons program

North Korea is more and more Use cryptocurrencies to avoid international sanctions You can use it to fund a program that manufactures weapons of mass destruction.

Diet this week Launched a short-range missile at the sea Off the east coast, according to South Korean and Tokyo officials.

What is the scale and scope of North Korea’s cryptocurrency activity? Growth from 2017when Sanctions imposed on nuclear tests, Despite China’s ability to generate huge incomes and growing interest through cybercrime, it hampers its ability to legally import gas and oil from China.

There are financial motivations among the criminal activities in which the state is involved in cryptocurrencies. Ransomware attack to attack the NHS 2017, and the use of cyber attacks Steal millions from crypto exchanges..

North Korean Prime Minister Kim Jong Un attends Kim Jong Il's 80th birthday celebration in front of his statue in Samjiyon, North Korea.
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Authoritarian State Officials Approve Griffith’s Presentation

The country-based elite hacking unit is probably the only national support group in the world with a financially motivated mission rather than focusing on information gathering for national security purposes.

his Started operation in February 2014According to cybersecurity firm Trellix, “it is likely affected by the financial sanctions enacted in March 2013 that blocked large remittances and restricted access to North Korea’s international banking system.” It is about.

North Korea has always manufactured drugs, forged currencies, and engaged in smuggling to support its economy. FireEye describes piracy as a similar form of activity.

The secret agency, informally known as Office 39, has been a key state asset that generates black market revenue since at least the 1970s.

It is estimated to earn $ 1 billion annually through illegal activities such as counterfeiting US dollars, manufacturing drugs, and even smuggling gold.