On April 12, Ameen Soleimani, Co-founder of Reflexer Labs, submitted “Virgil Griffith – Letter To The Judge,” paying tribute to Virgil Griffith amidst recent controversy. “Virgil’s ideology is centered on diplomacy, building bridges, compromise, and mutual benefit,” says Soleimani.
Despite what happened, Ethereum Co-founder Vitalik Buterin still admires Virgil. In regards to Soleimani’s letter, Buterin tweeted:
An excellent articulation of what Virgil stands for. Yes he does have an ideology, and it’s a beautiful one that I’ve learned a lot from. https://t.co/fe8DDTkAJS
— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) April 14, 2022
Below is an excerpt from Ameen Soleiman’s letter to the judge:
“For all his study of game theory, Virgil’s greatest weakness, like many utopians in the Ethereum community, is being too charitable towards would-be adversaries and allowing himself to be exploited.”
He knew he had made a grave error the moment he got off his flight to North Korea. His trip was carefully orchestrated by the North Korean officials to reveal nothing and extract as much as possible. They made it clear early on that compliance was mandatory and backed by violence.
“The blockchain conference he thought he was attending was a sham; he and his fellow travelers were the only presenters and said officials were the audience.”
Former Ethereum developer Virgil Griffith was sentenced to 5 years in prison after pleading guilty to a one-court charge of conspiracy to violate the US International Emergency Economic Power Act. Griffith helped North Korea evade sanctions by attending a 2019 blockchain and cryptocurrency conference in Pyongyang.
The State Department primarily warned him not to attend, but he defied their warning.
Griffith confessed that he “genuinely, arrogantly, and erroneously thought” that he had known better and added in his plea that:
“I’ve learned my lesson. I am still profoundly embarrassed that I am here and of what I have done.”
However, the admission and guilty petition were not enough to sway the judge to give leniency.