A friend that has long been involved in the technology startup world refers to any and all cryptocurrencies as “LaunderCoin.” The point being that some significant portion of cryptocurrency activity is simply money laundering. So it was no surprise when I saw the headline above come across my newsfeed. Yawn.
A few paragraphs in though I nearly spit out my coffee. This isn’t any old cryptocurrency expert this is the Ethereum Foundation’s “research scientist” Virgil Griffith. Griffith is a well-known internet radical. The NY Times called once called him a “cult hacker.” “Internet zealot” might be a better description.
From the press release accompanying the complaint:
“As alleged, Virgil Griffith provided highly technical information to North Korea, knowing that this information could be used to help North Korea launder money and evade sanctions. In allegedly doing so, Griffith jeopardized the sanctions that both Congress and the president have enacted to place maximum pressure on North Korea’s dangerous regime.”
Assistant Attorney General John Demers said: “Despite receiving warnings not to go, Griffith allegedly traveled to one of the United States’ foremost adversaries, North Korea, where he taught his audience how to use blockchain technology to evade sanctions. By this complaint, we begin the process of seeking justice for such conduct.
So what does this have to do with the new Music Licensing Collective? Well one of the two digital vendors announced by the MLC is ConsenSys. ConsenSys is headed by Joseph Lublin who is the co-founder of Ethereum and COO of Ethereum Foundation.