US cryptocurrency coder gets 5 years for North Korea sanctions busting – Naked Security

The cryptocurrency world is full of weird stories.

You’ve probably heard of the Welshman who who claimed he inadvertently threw away a hard disk containing bitcoinage worth $ 500 million, and went to his local council for permission to dig up the landfill site where he assumed it would have been dumped, offering the authorities a cut of the coins if he recovered any.

The council declined his proposal.

You’ll no doubt remember the self-styled Crocodile of Wall Street, a female musician of sorts whose self-published rap videos included one with the lyrics, “Spearfish your password / All your funds transferred”.

Heather “Croc” Morgan and her husband Ilya Lichtenstein were arrested in early 2022, charged with living a high life off income derived from close to 120,000 bitcoins that mysteriously vanished from online cryptocoin exchange Bitfinex back in 2016, and that US law enforcement allege ended up in their possession after the heist.

Technically, they were not charged with the heist itself, but with trying to shift around cryptocurrency that they knew to be stolen, and of telling a bunch of lies along the way to make it sound as though they had acquired the cryptocoins legitimately.

Amazingly, the value of all the bitcoins when they were stolen was about $ 72,000,000, but the value of the 80% of them recovered in 2022 had soared to about $ 4 billion.

And you may recall the late cryptocurrency trading hamster, Mr Goxx, who went viral during his brief and colorful life (black-and-white at night, when infrared cameras were used) as a rodentine coinhodler.

Sadly, given how this particular story ends, US cryptocurrency developer Virgil Griffith has provided another episode in the never-a-dull-moment world of cryptocurrencies.

Griffith’s story is simply, if bafflingly, told.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Griffith decided to look into business opportunities involving North Korea and cryptocurrencies, including cryptocoin mining in the country.

As the DOJ reminds ushowever:

Pursuant to the [International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA)] and Executive Order 13466, United States persons are prohibited from exporting any goods, services, or technology to [North Korea] without a license from the Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

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