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Ethereum Dev Violated Bail Conditions by Signing into Coinbase

Former Ethereum Foundation member Virgil Griffith has been taken into custody after violating the terms of his bail by signing into his Coinbase account.

Griffith, a well-known Ethereum developer, violated the terms of his bail conditions by attempting to access his frozen Coinbase account. The account contained assets worth close to $1 million, according to court documents.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Griffith attempted to provide people in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) with information on evading economic sanctions and money laundering. He provided this information at the Pyongyang Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference in April 2019. At the conference, Griffith discussed how blockchain and cryptocurrency could be used by the DPRK to “achieve independence from the global banking,” which the U.S. government explicitly opposes.

A picture of Can't be having that!

Can't be having that!

Griffith admitted to the above to the FBI during an interview. He also showed FBI agents photographs of himself in the DPRK and provided to the FBI newspapers and other literature from the DPRK.

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After his arrest, a judge eventually granted his bail. The strict bail conditions included a provision that forbid Griffith from accessing his accounts on cryptocurrency exchanges, including Coinbase. Prosecutors stated that Griffith’s posed a flight risk due to Ethereum’s increasing value.

Government’s Letter

The government, in a letter to the court, wrote:

[O]n or about May 3, 2021, the defendant sent an electronic message through an online platform to a U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange (“the Exchange”), stating in relevant part: I presume my account was restricted due to the pending litigation against me. My lawyers now tell me that it is permitted for me to access my cryptocurrency on [the Exchange] . . . . Related: I’m going to need the 2FA [two-factor authentication] removed as the FBI took my devices away. On June 2, 2021, the Court issued an order setting a trial date for September 21, 2021.

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Approximately two weeks later, on or about June 19, 2021, the defendant pressed the Exchange for access to his frozen cryptocurrency account, writing to the Exchange that he “still require[d] assistance” in order to access the account.

The Government understands that the assets contained in this cryptocurrency account are worth nearly $1 million.

The Exchange

Upon discovery of these attempts to access the frozen assets, which the Government learned about from the Exchange [1] and continues to investigate, the Government contacted defense counsel. Defense counsel acknowledged that they were aware of the above messages, and expressed that they believe the defendant acted in accordance with their legal advice. Without waiving any applicable privilege, defense counsel attempted to explain their position to the Government and to justify the defendant’s actions despite the clear prohibition on access to any of the defendant’s cryptocurrency accounts. Most recently, on July 2, 2021, Mr. Klein and Ms. Axel asserted to the Government that the messages to the Exchange were not sent by the defendant, but rather by the defendant’s parent and that this activity was authorized by the defendant’s pretrial services officer in Alabama (the “Pretrial Services Officer”).

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The Government spoke with the Pretrial Services Officer, who stated that he had not granted any such authorization for the defendant’s parents to access the defendant’s cryptocurrency accounts and that accessing a cryptocurrency account was prohibited by court order. The defense’s purported justifications provide no valid explanation for the defendant’s conduct. The defendant’s significant cryptocurrency assets and his total lack of transparency regarding his financial holdings to Pretrial Services are primary components of the serious risk of flight he has presented since the inception of this case.

The government objected to the expansion of Griffith’s request for expanded travel rights. The Government specifically objected because:

  1. the defendant holds substantial cryptocurrency assets on unspecified exchanges accessible via the Internet;
  2. the Government and Pretrial Services have never received a full report of the defendant’s financial holdings, making it impossible to assess whether the value of the bond is sufficiently meaningful to the defendant, and
  3. due to the skyrocketing price of the cryptocurrency, including ether, the defendant likely possesses millions of dollars in undocumented wealth that dwarf the size and meaning of his bond.

1. Coinbase notified the government that Griffith had attempted to access his account. back

Griffith is once again in custody.

Complaint (pdf)
Letter requesting bail revocation (pdf)

14 Comments
Alias
e157dca0 Thu, Jul 22, 2021

most people involved with development of freedom tools, commit suicide, dissapear or die with strange disseases, usually neuro degenerative, very strange pattern. Next one on the list to commit suicide, dissapear or die with a neuro degenerative dissease... Satoshi gone, Len Sassaman, Hal Finney, "3 Bitcoin develipers", Aaron Swartz. Gene Kan. Ilya Zhitomirskiy. James Dolan, and the list goes on... the 27 club of cyberpunk.

Satan's Anus
4bb4d7a0 Fri, Jul 23, 2021

Silly Jizzdick just couldn't leave well enough alone.

fcoinbase
499cf750 Fri, Jul 23, 2021

“1. Coinbase notified the government that Griffith had attempted to access his account”

When will people learn Coinbase is NOT your friend and basically a snitch for the government?!?

kimjungooooeeeee
fe6c40b0 Fri, Jul 23, 2021

yayyyyyyy :D glad to see yall and what a fuck stick Coinbase would light your family on fire and sell you to the Taliban if it helped them in any way. fuk CB and the NK leadership

fuckcoinbase
8308f5a0 Fri, Jul 23, 2021

Coinbase is hyper-compliant with law enforcement and no one should use it.

i.e. if you use coinbase at all, you should assume that all your details are in a DEA database. If the feds are investigating someone in a darknet context they can look up their coinbase records in a split second. For NCIDE people or similar, the process is probably automated. Be aware.

Fuck coinbase

Silent
ab90d4e0 Sat, Jul 24, 2021

Our comments have been reinstated, may we choose our words carefully to avoid any further suspensions or censorship’s ;)

Silent
c93729e0 Sat, Jul 24, 2021

Our comments have been reinstated, may we choose our words carefully to avoid any further suspensions or censorship’s ;)

LandOfTheFucked
41948300 Mon, Jul 26, 2021

If he had just said all of that at a US based conference and NK had somehow gotten ahold of the video of him talking, would he be charged with the same crimes? How fucking dumb is the US gov’t? Rhetorical question. I live here, I know first hand how fucking stupid the law enforcers are and the majority of the laws they enforce are. It’s a sham government, designed by crooks with a lot of money and developed into a machine to keep this “mafia” in power. And when people talk about the “rule of law” I can’t help but cringe to the max. The rules are purchased by greedy, power hungry, nasty people, the worst of humanity is running things because the best of humanity are not asshole enough to want to be in powerful positions.

And the schools, the churches, the western religions, they all serve this purpose. And yes, Coinbase is not the friend of anyone who is interested in the principles in which Bitcoin is based. They are “coin based”, all about money, all about power, all about control. They fool people into thinking they are helping blockchain via “adoption” and other BS claims. It’s like how people complain about the billionaires in the US…as if they expect them to be “good people”. To become a billionaire you can’t be a good person, period

blackmamba
72feb530 Fri, Jul 30, 2021

Fuck Coinbase and Armstrong!

Silent
8fd93b70 Sat, Jul 31, 2021

So what? Money is just a mechanism of man, money’s not fucked but maybe mankind is. I’m no God or Judge of that…

Silent
9bbeed80 Sat, Jul 31, 2021

Home boys got freedom of speech… not really, but some how they got wallet addresses of him transferring coins between North and South Korea and that’s a 20 year capable crime apparently… I can appreciate the premise of his rebellion but North Korea is fucked, check out the extermination camps their running on satellite…

Silent
9c413ce0 Sat, Jul 31, 2021

Home boys got freedom of speech… not really, but some how they got wallet addresses of him transferring coins between North and South Korea and that’s a 20 year capable crime apparently… I can appreciate the premise of his rebellion but North Korea is fucked, check out the extermination camps their running on satellite…

YouShouldKnowBet
bc0cc7d0 Sun, Aug 8, 2021

What a fucking clown. "AcHiEvE iNdEpEnDaNcE fRoM gOvErNmEnTs" Keeps his crypto on an exchange. Uses phone based 2 factor. LOL

NotAclown
9cd5e100 Wed, Sep 8, 2021

@YouShouldKnowBet hahahahaah I was thinking the same thing

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