Coin Center to Seek Legal Redress Over Tornado Cash Sanctions

On Monday, Coin Center said the U.S. Department of Treasury overstepped its mandate when it sanctioned mixing service Tornado Cash, vowing to pursue redress over the matter. The group says it’s seeking to “engage” the Office of Foreign Assets Control and is considering a court challenge.

Treasury’s sanctions

The organization says the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, wrongly sanctioned several cryptocurrency addresses that aren’t individuals or entities, but rather house computers, arguing that the move creates due process concerns and implicates First Amendment rights.

“How can it be proper to add to the sanctions list not a person, or a person’s property, but instead an automated protocol not under anyone’s control?” the statement said.

Tornado Cash blacklisted

In August, OFAC blacklisted Tornado Cash’s website and several digital-currency addresses allegedly associated with its mixing service that the treasury says is being used by North Korea to launder more than $455 million stolen.

Coin Center said Tornado Cash’s website and some addresses may be appropriate targets for sanctions if the Treasury is able to identify a specific entity or individuals that control it. The group said it was reserving judgment on whether that standard has been met in this case, because the facts aren’t fully available to the public.

“There is potentially an entity called Tornado Cash that is controlled by certain individuals, and the web address and some of the Ethereum addresses in the notice can be thought of as either pseudonyms for that entity or, alternatively, as its property,” the statement said.

Treasury sanctions other sites

But unlike the designation of mixing service Blender.io and associated individuals which were sanctioned earlier this year, the Treasury targeted software itself, because several of the addresses that have been blacklisted are addresses for the mixer code, Coin Center argued.

“They are the addresses at which a user can find the software logic that, given the proper inputs, will execute and mix coins for users,” the statement said. That software logic is “wholly separate from the entity identified as Tornado Cash,” Coin Center argued.

It is reported that the application was installed on the Ethereum network in such a way that its installer no longer has control over it and gave the gave customers an opportunity to choose the applications

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Remmy Bahati, is a Crypto and Technology Reporter at BeInCrypto based in New York, USA. She holds a Master of Science degree in Journalism from Columbia University in the City of New York. She also works for Law360 as a Legal News Assistant monitoring the US Congress, the federal and state courts. Not only that, but she worked for the United Nations in the global communications department. A television producer, video editor and writer, she has contributed to CNN, Columbia News Service, New York Times digital, NBS TV, TRT World, BBC, Huffington Post and Citizen TV.

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