Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has voiced his support for Virgil Griffith after the latter was arrested for visiting North Korea and allegedly using his knowledge of crypto to help the country avoid sanctions. 

On Thanksgiving Day, Virgil Griffith was arrested by U.S. authorities at the Los Angeles International Airport. Griffith, who has been a research scientist with the Ethereum Foundation since 2016, was charged with violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), by reportedly sharing his expertise in crypto and blockchain at a conference in N. Korea. 

Buterin took to Twitter on Dec. 1 to provide support for Griffith. He disclosed up-front that he is friends with Griffith and clarified that the Ethereum Foundation had nothing to do with the trip to North Korea. 

Buterin called it “admirable” for Griffith to risk visiting N. Korea, despite the country’s connotations, and applauded his “geopolitical open-mindedness.” 

Ethereum’s co-founder also argued against the idea that Griffith had provided the N. Koreans with special technology that would allow them to avoid sanctions. 

Buterin concluded his series of tweets by asking the US to show “strength rather than weakness” and focus on issues larger than a programmer delivering public information at a conference. 

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