Attorney Brian Klein has filed a motion to dismiss charges against Virgil Griffith, arguing that the US Government has failed to prove its accusation against his defendant, Ethereum developer Virgil Griffith. Griffith is accused of violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and executive orders by delivering a technical talk on sanction evasion and money laundering at a North Korean cryptocurrency conference without the approval from the US government. It’s the first cryptocurrency sanctions charge in the US court. Klein claims that Griffith’s talk was based on publicly available information. The next step will be for the court to decide on whether or not to grant the motion.
Why it matters: The US government is looking for more ways to assert control in the crypto space, but this is a difficult proposition. Given the fact that shutting down a network like Bitcoin is basically impossible, the US will have to prosecute people who live or do business in the USA, which makes the nation look far less attractive for any business that operates in the crypto space. This case demonstrates how dangerous it can be to live in the USA, as its laws are poorly defined, and enforcement is often overzealous. The idea that the US must be consulted before sharing publicly available information is ludicrous, but that appears to be the position of US prosecutors.