Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin Signs Petition To Release Virgil Griffith From FBI


  • The Ethereum Foundation released prior statements that left Griffith abandoned by the company, despite being an employee.
  • Vitalik Buterin has since stated that throwing Griffith under the bus would be “wrong.”

Virgil Griffith was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) last week, after he deliberately went against the orders of the government and spoke at a conference in North Korea. During the conference, he told audiences what they would need to do to evade the sanctions of the United States with the use of Bitcoin. The officials from the FBI arrested him at the Los Angeles International Airport on Thanksgiving.

As news broke, many cryptocurrency outlets learned about the arrest, stating that the Ethereum Foundation had put some distance between themselves and Griffith, essentially throwing him under the bus. After all, Griffith is one of their key employees. A statement was released from the company, stating that the Foundation knew of the charges against Griffith. While a name was not released, the statement read,

“We can confirm that the Foundation was not represented in any capacity at the events outlined in the Justice Department’s filing, and that the Foundation neither approved nor supported any such travel, which was a personal matter. We are continuing to monitor the situation as it develops.”

Griffith worked for the Ethereum Foundation as a senior researcher and developer. It didn’t take long for the public to come up with a petition, hoping to release Griffith from the FBI’s custody. As the petition circulated, reports of these crypto news outlets were seemingly dismissed on December 1st after a tweet was published by Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum’s founder. In the tweet he stated,

“I refuse to take the convenient path of throwing Virgil under the bus, because I firmly believe that that would be wrong. I'm signing.”

The massive onslaught of tweets from Buterin includes a link that originated with Enrico Talin, an Italian developer. Buterin stated that, along with the excellent character that Griffith possessed, the information that he released at the event is considered to be public knowledge. Even if Griffith didn’t tell the audience these details, they could’ve been found on their own network.

Even though Buterin claims that he made Griffith aware that the trip should not commence, the latter still broke federal laws in doing so. Travelers to North Korea are required by law to get permission from the government before pursuing their arrangements, which has been a law since 2017. The travel ban was extended another year by the government in September.

The only individual that is exempt from the rule is President Donald Trump, who recently visited North Korea in July 2019 and has since led to the friendship between Kim Jong-un and himself.

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