Forex in this article
• Dutch police arrested Tornado Cash developer Alexei Pertsev in Amsterdam
• Tornado Cash reportedly passed through at least $1 billion worth of cryptocurrencies of criminal origin
• Critics say Pertsev’s detention and US sanctions on Tornado Cash are both wrong
Tornado Cash developer Alexei Pertsev is arrested in the Netherlands
As the Dutch authority FIOD announced in a public statement on 12 August, a 29-year-old man was arrested in Amsterdam on 10 August. “They are suspected of being involved in concealing criminal financial flows and facilitating money laundering through cryptocurrency shuffling through the Ethereum decentralized shuffling service Tornado Cash,” the statement continued. The captive is called Tornado Cache developer Alexey Pertsev. The code he created is said to have been used to channel the massive flow of money from criminal activities such as crypto thefts and scams to other locations. FIOD explains, “This includes hacked and stolen funds from a group linked to North Korea.”
Since its launch, Tornado Cash has generated at least $7 billion in sales. According to the results of the investigation, however, at least one billion US dollars worth of cryptocurrencies of criminal origin flowed through Mixer at the same time. The authority suspects that the people behind this organization have made huge profits from illegal transactions. Alexey Pertsev seems to be one such person.
What happened in Tornado Cache?
As already mentioned, Tornado Cash is a so-called “mixing service for cryptocurrencies”. It enables its users to hide the origin or destination of crypto transactions. Therefore it is often used to increase the anonymity of the parties. That’s why Tornado Cash describes itself as a “fully decentralized protocol for private transactions on Ethereum.” As such, Tornado Cash is not, in itself, illegal or criminal. However, the features of the mixing service have apparently been increasingly used by crypto thieves and scammers. This was observed not only by the Dutch but also by the American authorities. The Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) banned Tornado Cash. According to BTC-echo, this is a precedent. Instead of a natural person or company, the authorities first approved the code of open source software. This was later censored and operators were asked to deposit funds at approved wallet addresses and block transactions related to Tornado Cash.
Protests due to actions against Tornado Cash and Alexei Pertsev
The actions of the authorities against Tornado Cash and developer Alexei Pertsev have received a lot of outrage in the crypto scene. Critics consider the mixing service’s code neutral and view the ban as illegal censorship. Many also argue that merely approving source code is a violation of freedom of expression and basic human rights. Suspicious use of the protocol, on the other hand, does not legitimize the process. Rather, criminals should be prosecuted. As BTC-echo reports, even crypto companies like Tether should not comply with requests from authorities to freeze some funds and block transactions.
Critical voices have also been raised about the imprisonment of Alexei Pertsev. Matthew Green, a professor at Johns Hopkins University, accused Dutch police of not knowing exactly why they were holding Alexei Pertsev.
I do not know what Alexey Pertsev did or did not do. It seems that there is no Dutch police either. https://t.co/Jd1UfH4QPO
— Matthew Green (@matthew_d_green) 24 August 2022
Twitter user Ryan Adams wrote that “Alex” only wrote open source code, which constitutes a public good.
A judge just ruled that Alexei Pertsev should remain in prison.
Still no fee.
Alex wrote the open source privacy code. a public good.
Some bad guys used his code so they put him in a cage.
Who’s Next…Important? Tim Berners-Lee?
We need to push.
— ryan san adams — rsa.eth (@RyanSAdams) 24 August 2022
Just because “some bad guys” might have used it, cage it up. In his tweet, he called for the release of Paratsev and said that a voice should be raised for it. In fact, over the weekend more than 50 people protested in Amsterdam for his release – so far without success.
Nicolas Flohr / Editor finanzen.net
Image Sources: zapomicron/Shutterstock.com, TierneyMJ/Shutterstock.com
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