Here's why visiting North Korea and educating it about cryptocurrencies is probably a really bad idea

Business Insider | 12/3/2019 | Charlie Wood
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Virgil Griffith, a programmer who worked on the cryptocurrency Ethereum, was arrested on Friday after federal prosecutors claimed he gave a talk at a blockchain and crypto conference in Pyongyang, North Korea.

The Ethereum community leaped to Griffith's defence, arguing that any information he handed over was already in the public domain.

East - Asian - Cybersecurity - Expert - Priscilla

But East Asian cybersecurity expert Priscilla Moriuchi said the presence of a US cryptocurrency expert would have been valuable to North Korea. "Any interaction with a daily developer and user of cryptocurrency is likely to be valuable to North Koreans," she said.

Griffith has been released from prison is awaiting trial, and his lawyer described the allegations as "untested."

Regime - Populace - Cryptocurrency - Development - Weapons

The North Korean regime brutally oversees a starving populace, and is thought to be hoarding stolen cryptocurrency to fund the development of nuclear weapons.

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Rogue - State - North - Korea - Citizen

It turns out visiting the rogue state of North Korea as an American citizen and giving it any sort of technical advice is probably a bad idea.

Cryptocurrency expert Virgil Griffith was arrested on Friday for allegedly doing exactly that, with federal prosecutors saying that Griffith spoke at a blockchain and cryptocurrency conference in Pyongyang, North Korea.

Statement - Arrest - US - Department - Justice

In a statement announcing his arrest, the US Department of Justice said Griffith's talk had described how North Korea could "launder money and evade sanctions." A judge has since ruled that Griffith be released from jail pending trial, and Griffith's lawyer Brian Klein described the allegations as "untested."

Griffith worked on the cryptocurrency Ethereum, and the crypto community leaped to his defence. A common argument was that anything Griffith might have told the North Koreans was already in the public domain.

Expert - Argument - Visit - Idea

But one expert has shot down that argument, and suggested any such visit would be a pretty terrible idea.

Priscilla Moriuchi was formerly an East Asia cybersecurity expert for the NSA...
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