Pyongyang has been studying the technology for a long time
An American cryptocurrency expert has been sentenced to more than five years in prison for preparing to help North Korea circumvent US sanctions by using crypto.
Virgil Griffith had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate US law.
He previously worked for the Ethereum Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on the technology behind cryptocurrency ether.
The sentence is the minimum term of imprisonment sought by prosecutors.
He was also fined $ 100,000. The 39-year-old was facing a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $ 1 million fine.
His lawyer said in a statement that while the verdict was disappointing, the judge “acknowledged Virgil’s commitment to continue productive life and that he is a talented man who has a lot to contribute”.
In September, Griffith pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the United States International Emergency Economic Law by traveling to North Korean capital Pyongyang to present blockchain technology.
Griffith, who has a doctorate from the California Institute of Technology, traveled to North Korea via China in April 2019, although the US State Department denied him permission to go.
The information in Griffith’s presentations could have been used to circumvent the sanctions that Washington imposed on North Korea for developing nuclear weapons.
“The most important feature of the blockchains is that they are open. And the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] cannot stay away, no matter what the United States or the United Nations say,” Griffith said during a presentation, according to prosecutors.
In September, the US Department of Justice said he had “threatened the national security of the United States” by undermining sanctions.
Ethereum Foundation said during Griffith’s arrest that it did not approve or support his trip to North Korea.