Dutch Officials Say Tornado Cash’s Code Could Be Criminal



Dutch officials told the non-profit DeFi Education Fund that it “may be punishable” if a developer writes code “for the sole purpose of committing criminal acts.”

It’s the latest detail from the Fiscal Information and Investigation Service (FIOD), which last week arrested a 29-year-old developer in Amsterdam in connection with Tornado Cash.

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The Block reported that the identity of the person arrested was Alexey Pertsev, a Tornado Cash developer.

“About the concerns, the development of a tool is not prohibited, but if a tool has been created for the sole purpose of committing criminal acts, for example, to conceal criminal flows of money, then putting online/making available a developed tool may be punishable,” FIOD wrote in a response to questions from the DeFi Education Fund.

Unpacking FIOD’s crypto response

The non-profit has been communicating with FIOD since last week and sharing responses on Twitter.

Tornado Cash app was created to obscure Ethereum transactions. It’s been used by traders who want to maintain their privacy but has also drawn scrutiny from government officials.

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On August 8, the U.S. Office of Financial Assets Control (OFAC) added dozens of the project’s crypto wallets to its sanction list.

“Tornado Cash was routinely used for legitimate purposes,” Max Bernstein, the DeFi Education Fund’s communications lead, told Decrypt in an email. “While we are still waiting for the specific charges against the developer to be released, the following must remain clear: Writing and publishing code must be protected in free societies and privacy is not a crime.”

Since the arrest last week, the governance forum and Discord server connected to Tornado Cash have been shut down. A representative for the project also told Decrypt that the project’s code had been removed from GitHub, but said it “doesn’t change anything for Tornado Cash contracts.”

On Tuesday, Kraken CEO Jesse Powell joined a growing chorus of industry leaders to speak out against the sanctions. He told Bloomberg that the U.S. ban on the app is “unconstitutional.”

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