Crypto Guru Pleads Guilty to Advising North Korea on Blockchain Technology

As his criminal trial was set to start, a cryptocurrency expert pleaded guilty to conspiring to violating U.S. law by traveling to North Korea to give a presentation on how to use blockchain technology to launder money and evade sanctions.

Virgil Griffith entered the plea in federal court in Manhattan on Monday, before jury selection was to begin in his trial. The former senior researcher for the Ethereum Foundation was arrested in November 2019 after attending a conference in Pyongyang earlier in the year. A federal grand jury convened by the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York indicted Mr. Griffith on one count of allegedly conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which prohibits U.S. citizens from exporting goods, services or technology to North Korea.