Tornado Cash, a popular transaction privacy shielding protocol, has been sanctioned by the US’ OFAC (Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control), and has been blacklisted in the US. Due to their nature of hiding transaction history for users, it has become a primary tool for hackers to launder their illicit gains. Github shortly after suspended founder Roman Semenov’s account, taking the open source code offline:
However, the crypto community has been overwhelmingly against this move. According to countless Twitter posts, there seem to be a good percentage of law-abiding Web3 users who prefer their privacy for no more their their own self-interest. An anonymous user is sending small amounts of ETH to celebrity wallets to show that the ban would be hard to enforce as well.
Once again, I have mixed feelings to these types of events. On one hand, exploits and hacking have become rampant in this world of DeFi and NFTs, and those that are suffering are ordinary people, who end up having a good chunk, if not all, of their money stolen. The government, with the power they wield, are stepping in to remove a tool that is protecting hackers from getting tracked. We all need to agree, this definitely has become out of hand.
However, there are many that use this service to protect their privacy for the sake of their own sanity. We have lived a life so far where no one can just come and see what’s in your bank account. Within this world, your money is on a public ledger and with enough clues, you can potentially figure out who may own what wallet. Tornado Cash allowed law-abiding users protect themselves from potential thieves who might be tracking their movements. Is it up to the government to remove their citizens’ right to privacy like that? Wouldn’t it have made more sense to facilitate a way for Tornado Cash to put up guards and barriers to laundering (whatever that scenario might be)?