A petition started by Joseph Delong, a Senior Software Engineer at ConsenSys, has attracted 194 signatures at the time of writing to #FreeVirgil.
The petition asks FBI and a number of government departments to “Release Virgil Griffith from Prison,” saying:
“Virgil was part of 8 individuals that attended the ‘Pyongyang Blockchain and Cryptocurrency’ conference in North Korea. He was detained by the FBI at LAX when he was coming back to the US for Thanksgiving.”
Delong further says “we have contacted the EFF and ACLU,” with a number of signers showing support. One of them says:
“To me this seems to be an unfortunate abuse of power, and if I understand all the facts correctly a violation of his rights and not a just action of the prosecutors.
I find myself supposing they probably are intending to make him an example to fear-monger people out of an industry that ensures freedoms and limits government powers.
In addition I say our civil liberties are worth fighting for, this could be the cause of a very sad loss for a great new promising technology and for those who wish to freely share its usage.”
Virgil Griffith, a very senior employee of the Ethereum Foundation, was arrested recently for giving a presentation in North Korea on Blockchain and Peace.
That presentation contravened sanctions, the US government says, claiming advanced technical discussions occurred like Proof of Work vs Proof of Stake.
Griffith has now secured bail pending trial, with Brian Klein of Baker Marquart representing him pro-bono.
The only other political prisoner in US where this space is concerned is Ross Ulbricht. In a petition signed by a quarter of a million people, his mother says:
“Ross is condemned to die in prison, not for selling drugs himself but for creating a website where others did. This is far harsher than the punishment for many murderers, pedophiles, rapists and other violent people.”
He is serving double life, some 40 years in prison, for creating an eBay like drug market where all prices and payments were in bitcoin.
That compares to Usman Khan, the police shot London Bridge attacker who got only eight years in prison in 2012, after being in prison since 2010, for admitting to:
“Plans to bomb the London Stock Exchange, the Houses of Parliament, the US embassy, two rabbis at two synagogues, the Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, home of then London Mayor Boris Johnson, build a terrorist training camp in land Khan’s family owns in Pakistan occupied Kashmir, attending terrorism related operational meetings, preparing to travel abroad and assisting others in travelling abroad for terrorist activities.”
Griffith, for his stupendously shocking presentation that detailed how you can enter an ethereum public address and sign with a private key and so move eth from anywhere to anywhere across the world, risks facing twenty years in prison.
His presentation was so despicable not necessarily because of what it said, but for it being addressed to some of the most isolated people on earth who the United States government thinks should not have any such knowledge lest they improve their circumstances and perhaps even free themselves and, god forbid, maybe even make peace with South Korea.
This crime against humanity should court life according to the lizard men, but plotting to strike at the heart of democracy by blowing up Parliament, gets you expert training in Belmarsh prison where you get to meet your own evil buddies and so continue to plot, probably under direction, with execution at the most opportune time for the government which of course only cares to protect the public:
“The terms of his temporary release licence did not allow for travel to London, special permission would have been needed for him to participate in Cambridge University’s Learning Together ‘Five Year Celebration’ on the day he perpetrated the 2019 London Bridge stabbing.”