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Appeal to Remove Tornado Cash Sanctions Denied in US Federal Court

According to the petition, “The Court finds that Tornado Cash is an association within the ordinary meaning of the term and, as such, is an entity that may be designated pursuant to OFAC regulations.”

US District Judge Robert Pitman found the sanctions against cryptocurrency mixer Tornado Cash to be appropriate, according to a court document filed on August 18. Six people asked him to ease the restrictions on Tornado Cash, but he refused.

The US government last year imposed tight regulations on Tornado Cash, which is why this action has been filed. Tornado Cash was added to the Office of Foreign Assets Control’s (OFAC) Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN) List in August 2022.

OFAC implemented the penalties despite many claims that the mixer had participated in money laundering. All Tornado Cash property located in the US or held by US nationals must be reported to OFAC.

The six plaintiffs, who all utilize Tornado, assert that there is a misunderstanding over what Tornado Cash actually is: “The parties cannot agree on how Tornado Cash should be described. Plaintiffs assert that a collection of smart contracts, or “pools,” on the Ethereum blockchain make up Tornado Cash, a decentralized, open-source software project. The six participants argue against classifying Tornado Cash as an organization. They assert that those who aren’t included in the categorization include the “individual founders, developers, members of the DAO, or users, or other persons involved in supporting Tornado Cash.”Tornado Cash was allegedly sanctioned by OFAC for facilitating the movement of $7 billion in illegitimate transactions since 2019.

It said that the Lazarus Group, a group of North Korean hackers, used Tornado Cash to transfer around $455 million in stolen money.  The 2022 attack on the Horizon Bridge, which ended in

Tornado Cash would be immune from SDN restrictions if it were recognized as autonomous software as opposed to an organization, which is what the complaint is requesting. The plaintiffs claim that “its users rely on immutable, autonomous, and self-executing smart contracts.”

They assert that the decision is not within the Department’s purview. They claim it violates the Free Speech Clause and goes beyond its authority. On the other hand, Tornado Cash is described by the OFAC as a “entity operating a cryptocurrency mixing service.”


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