Crypto Leaders Criticize the Tornado Cash Ban of U.S. Government

08/09/2022By: C, Fiona

Leaders of the crypto community have slammed the “tyranny” of the Tornado Cash ban as a “slap in the face.”

The news that the US Treasury Department has barred American people from using Tornado Cash, an Ethereum coin mixer, is causing a stir in the crypto community.

In order to make Ethereum network transactions more secret, Tornado Cash gathers a huge number of transactions and mixes them in such a way that they can’t be tracked. As at the time of this writing, the Tornado Cash website was down.

Crypto’s ethos as a decentralized financial system that should preserve the privacy of all users has been questioned by some after the United States government’s actions on Monday.

“I don’t think it was acceptable at all,” Preston Van Loon, an Ethereum core engineer, said to Decrypt. For both good and ill, “Tornado Cash” is a tool, just like any other.

Tornado Cash’s founder, Roman Semenov, said on Twitter that his Github account had been suspended following the federal government’s blacklist statement this morning.. Tornado Cash is built on top of Github, a code hosting service.

 

In a statement, notable crypto business founder Erik Vorhees called out Github for implementing “the tyranny of [the] United States government’s sanctions list.”

Vorhees remarked cynically on the new development, “Surveillance of everything, control of everyone.” In short, “That’s what makes the United States of America exceptional.”

‘Law abiding Americans are the only ones impacted by this’ he tweeted in another Tweet.

 

Several federal court cases have found that “source code as speech” is protected by the United States Constitution.

Github’s ability to keep individuals like Semenov out of their work demonstrates the necessity for more decentralized internet building tools, others believe.

According to the Treasury Department, the Tornado Cash service has been used by a number of nefarious actors, including the North Korean state-sponsored hacking operation Lazarus Group and the thieves who stole $7.8 million during the Nomad Bridge incident last week.

Experts in the business believe that today’s ban on Tornado Cash isn’t going to stop criminals from laundering their illegally-acquired riches.

cryptographer and professor Matthew Green of Johns Hopkins University predicts that users may create new instances of the Tornado contract, or other similar forks. In a game of whack-a-mole, Treasury will have to approve the new addresses.

 

A government strategy that harms users’ privacy rights is untenable, Green believes.

According to Green: “For the record, I am opposed to North Korea laundering stolen money.” As a side note, I’m not a fan of governments taking over and destroying every business that allows customers to hide their transaction history from everyone else. “