One of our 21st century bitcoin knights rode into the fearsome Hermit Kingdom on a gallant Ethereum horse and got himself arrested by the FBI for being “really cool.”
The FBI nabbed Sir Knight Virgil Griffith at LA International Airport in December after he returned from the Pyongyang Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference in North Korea. New York federal prosecutors have charged Griffith with sharing technical information with North Korea’s not-cool boy King Kim Jong-un.
Griffith will need a creative defense to avoid federal prison. Fortunately, all elements to do just that are in place. They just need piecing together along with a generous portion of Dennis Rodman defense.
Let’s look at some of the characters involved in this fiasco. We begin with the boy king ruling the Hermit Kingdom.
Kim in North Korea is Not Cool
Kim is not cool. For example, Kim recently executed 11 musicians, shooting them to pieces with an anti-aircraft gun. He also feeds his subjects tree bark which is washed down with mud. And he wants to build an A-bomb to nuke just about everyone. But Kim loves basketball. All these matters, except the love of American basketball, make Kim a really uncool king.
Griffith will need to present himself as a more sympathetic figure than Kim. This will take some work, but it can be done.
We need to concede some diplomatic ground here. It’s not in the venue of a cool knight to meet with an uncool king. That matter should be left to experienced international diplomats…like the basketball legend Dennis Rodman.
Griffith will need to need to answer three critical questions to mount a credible legal defense.
1) Why would a cool knight meet with an uncool king?
2) Could the arrest be a message to the cool knight not to meet with an uncool king?
3) Should meeting with an uncool king be left to fabulous people like Rodman?
Don’t Volunteer To Do the King’s Dirty Laundry
Griffith, 35, let it be known to the world that he thought it would be “really cool” for the Hermit Kingdom to mine bitcoins. Why? Who knows. This kind of thinking not only borders on insanity, it breaks numerous international laws. Nearly the entire world has agreed to impose sanctions against the Hermit Kingdom. Those laws include giving Kim access to money, including cryptocurrencies.
Griffith openly discussed on Twitter the wisdom of creating a crypto exchange operation in the Hermit Kingdom without know-your-customer legal requirements. That’s another strike against Griffith.
The FBI arrested Griffith for attending a meeting in the Hermit Kingdom where he allegedly shared technical information at a conference in April, 2019.
Griffith works as a digital currency expert for the Ethereum Foundation. It’s rumored that he told his friends in the digital world that he intended to deliver equipment into the Hermit Kingdom to mine cryptocurrencies. Once these bitcoins are mined, they can be laundered on anonymous exchanges for fiat currencies. Boasting that he would defy international sanctions against the Hermit Kingdom is a likely reason the FBI arrested Griffith this past December, effectively stopping him from bringing cryptocurrency mining equipment into the Hermit Kingdom.
In addition, the US Department of State denied permission to Griffith to attend the most recent Hermit Kingdom cryptocurrency conference. Griffith said, screw that. He hatched a plan to sneak into the conference by flying to North Korea from China. At this most recent conference, Griffith allegedly discussed how the uncool king could use cryptocurrency technology to evade sanctions and launder money, according to US prosecutors.
Those in national security circles have condemned Griffith for diplomatic breeches that could harm delicate negotiations between the Hermit Kingdom and powerful nations.
Some in the ethereum community are arguing that Griffith was simply spreading the Ethereum gospel of open-source projects, hardly a state-protected secret. Others see Griffith as a flighty but well-meaning crypto-knight spreading harmony and peace across unicorn rainbows.
Diplomat Rodman Can Save Griffith’s Bacon
Now we know why Griffith wished to work with an uncool king – Griffith thought it would be really cool. That, of course, is insane.
Next, we know why the FBI arrested Griffith – to stop him from delivering crypto-mining equipment to Kim.
Now we need to explore the final question: Should meeting with an uncool king be left to fabulous people like Rodman? The answer to that is a unequivocal yes.
Rodman has been allowed unfettered access to the Hermit Kingdom without getting into a bit of foul trouble. Presumably, Rodman the basketball diplomat is teaching Kim the finer points of shooting 3-point shots and driving to the hoop to earn a foul. Shooting baskets is not sanctioned activity. Quite simply, Rodman is the chief diplomat when dealing with uncool Kim.
Griffith’s attorney, Brian Klein, disputed the US attorney’s criminal charges. The information Griffith imparted was no more harmful than Rodman giving tips to Kim on how to drive to the basket from the 3-point line.
Teaching Kim to Shoot Naked Foul Shots
So here we have “really cool” Sir Knight Griffith facing 20 years in prison. Arrayed against him is the entire hopping-mad diplomatic community and the US Justice Department.
Additionally, Griffith submitted a consensual interview to the FBI where he admitted that his presentation at the Hermit Kingdom conference was, in fact, a transfer of technical knowledge. That, too, was insane on Griffith’s part.
Fortunately, it’s rumored that Griffith traveled with porn star Brenna Sparks. It will be Griffith’s task to tie in his porn traveling companion with Rodman’s work as a basketball instructor to Kim. He needs to convince a basketball-savvy New York jury that she was teaching Kim to shoot naked foul shoots from the free-throw line. We can see now that the insanity defense is starting to write itself.
Rodman is a sharp and suave dude who could use his knowledge of basketball and friendship with Kim to weave together a plausible defense. Thus, to complete the insanity defense, it behooves Griffith to fire his attorney and hire Rodman as his legal council. A jury will find Griffith not guilty by reason on insanity in every way. Case closed.
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