The prominent hacker and Ethereum developer Virgil Griffith was arrested by the US government Friday after he spoke at an April conference on blockchain technologies in North Korea. The US government considers his presentation to be a transfer of technology—and therefore a violation of US sanctions.
But Griffith’s defenders, including Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin, describe the arrest as a massive over-reaction. Griffith worked for the Ethereum Foundation, and Buterin called him a friend.
“I don’t think what Virgil did gave the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] any kind of real help in doing anything bad,” Buterin tweeted on Sunday. “He delivered a presentation based on publicly available info about open source software.”