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Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin Writes Court to Treat Virgil Griffith with Leniency in Upcoming Sentencing

Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of Ethereum (ETH), has sent a letter to a New York court asking to treat Virgil Griffith, his long-time friend, and former collaborator, with leniency in the fast-approaching sentencing, according to CoinDesk.

Griffith, a former Ethereum developer, who Buterin credits with transforming both his worldview and the culture of the Ethereum Foundation, was arrested in November 2019 following a presentation given on cryptocurrency and blockchain technology at a North Korean crypto conference in April of that year.

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The developer was charged with violating United States sanctions law. He later pleaded guilty in an agreement with federal prosecutors, which could make him serve up to 6.5 years in prison.

Vitalik Buterin’s Letter to District Judge Kevin Castel

Joining others to ask for leniency in the upcoming sentencing, Buterin wrote a letter to District Judge Kevin Castel of New York.

In the letter, Ethereum co-founder detailed his seven-year friendship with the accused, who he met in 2013. He wrote about his kind and peaceful nature, corroborating other letters sent to the judge by Buterin’s family, friends, and community members.

With his kindness, Buterin wrote that Griffith has left a lasting legacy in the Ethereum Foundation, and the wider community.

Buterin wrote:

“[Griffith] has also left some deep personal changes in myself,” Buterin wrote Castel. “His attitudes and actions over the years helped to foster an open-mindedness and an orientation towards cooperation that guide my actions to this day, in a way that was absent from my personality five years ago.”

Buterin also referenced Griffth’s curiosity about other cultures, which brought about his migration to Singapore in 2016. He said he also strived to make Ethereum compatible with Islamic financial laws.

Read Also: Vitalik Buterin Suggests a New Fee Structure for the Ethereum Network

Although the curiosity mentioned earlier was not directly connected to Griffith’s decision to travel to North Korea, his lawyer wrote that the tour was “the culmination of Virgil’s unique and unfortunate curiosity and obsession with North Korea.”


Griffith also wrote the judge saying, “I became obsessed with seeing the country before it fell, akin to someone offered the chance to see East Berlin in its final days before the Wall came down.”

So, those who care about his wellbeing and the sentencing are hoping to see his remorse earn him a shorter sentence.

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Solomon Odunayo
Solomon Odunayo
Solomon is a trader, crypto enthusiast, and analyst with over four years of experience in the industry. He strongly believes that crypto assets and the blockchain will continue to gain prominence. At, he focuses on news, articles with deep analysis of blockchain projects, and technical analysis of crypto trading pairs.

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