Following U.S. sanctions, all platforms—Github, Circle, dYdX, Alchemy, and Infura—took action against Tornado Cash or anyone associated with the mixer.
The Office of Foreign Asset Control of the United States Treasury Department recently levied penalties, and many social media users claimed the community was debating how to contest them. This led to the shutdown of the Tornado Cash DAO.
Following a discussion in which the community unanimously decided to add its governance layer as a signatory to its treasury’s multisig wallet, which apparently controls $21.6 million, the Tornado Cash DAO was reportedly offline at the time of publication. Uncertainty surrounds what caused the decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) to go black, although it did so after a string of steps made by public and private organizations in response to the U.S. sanctions imposed against the contentious mixer on Monday.
Circle has frozen more than 75,000 USD Coin (USDC) worth of funds on addresses listed by Treasury officials over the course of the last four days. dYdX reported blocking some users’ accounts with funds connected to Tornado Cash. In addition to announcing the arrest of a developer suspected of participating in money laundering through Tornado Cash on Friday, Dutch officials in charge of monitoring financial crimes also made the announcement.
The efforts of centralized companies went beyond those against cryptocurrency mixer transactions and included messaging platforms. Roman Semenov, a co-founder of Tornado Cash, claimed on Monday that the developer platform GitHub had terminated his account; Discord users claimed that the mixing channel had also stopped working on Friday. The Telegram group for Tornado Cash was still going strong at the time of publication.
Why ostensibly impartial channels like Discord would be shut down in response to American sanctions is unclear. However, based on Tornado Cash’s inclusion on its Specially Designated National list, it may be interpreted that prohibited transactions include “downloading a software patch from a sanctioned entity.” According to a joint statement from the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council and Office of Foreign Asset Control, heavy fines and jail time are possible punishments for breaking penalties.
“For the first time ever, the U.S. government has criminalized interacting with software,” said Omid Malekan, an adjunct professor at Columbia Business school who also teaches about cryptocurrency and blockchain. “This is a big departure from their traditional decrees of sanctioning people, companies, and governments. There is evidence the project in question has indeed been used by criminals/hackers to obfuscate their funds, but there are also many legitimate uses.”
Before the sanctions were put in place, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin claimed to have donated money to Ukraine using Tornado Cash in order to protect the beneficiaries’ financial anonymity while they were in a war-torn nation. In an apparent effort to contest the severity of the punishments, an unidentified person also sent a large number of celebrities Ether (ETH) on Tuesday using the cryptocurrency mixer.