Tornado Cash Is Back On GitHub After OFAC Guidance

Tornado Cash, the Ethereum coin mixer that had previously been taken down is now once more back on GitHub, the software hosting website.

Last month, the crypto mixer had been blacklisted by the OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control) of the United States Department of the Treasury because it allowed users to receive and send Ethereum anonymously.

After the sanctions, American citizens were no longer permitted to interact with the app, which obscures the origin of transactions by pooling them together.

Tornado Cash is back

Only hours after the OFAC had made its announcement, the software hosting website that developers use for sharing code, GitHub had removed the code of the tool.

However, now Ethereum developers have discovered that the original code of the Tornado Cash program is once more available on the popular website.

Preston Van Loom, the core developer of Ethereum, unveiled this news on Twitter. He had been quite vocal in the calls of the crypto community about unbanning the code repositories of Tornado Cash on GitHub.

He had previously stated that code is no different from free speech, which makes it a constitutional right that needs to be protected.

GitHub’s response

A spokesperson for GitHub said that its goal is to become a global platform that can be used by developers for collaboration.

It said that they evaluate the sanctions imposed by the government to ensure that their clients and users are not affected more than what the law demands.

The spokesperson further said that GitHub wants to ensure collaboration on open source code remains protected all over the world.

The individual said that the government had recently provided clarification about source code available publicly, along with sanctioned entities, and this had enabled them to restore some public repositories.

The blacklisting

Last month, the Treasury Department said that they had decided to blacklist the crypto mixing service because it was being used by criminals for the purpose of money laundering.

It referred to the Lazarus Group, the state-backed North Korean hacking enterprise. The Feds said that the app had been used to launder dirty digital cash worth $7 billion since it was founded in 2019.

However, the figure has been disputed by Elliptic, as the blockchain data firm said that out of the $7.6 billion that had gone through the app, funds generated from illegal activity were $1.5 billion.

The ban had received criticism from politicians and an ‘archival fork’ of the source code of Tornado Cash had been posted on GitHub for research reasons by a professor from John Hopkins University.

As a matter of fact, an anonymous troll had gone as far as using a Tornado Cash wallet for sending Ethereum to celebrities soon after the app had been blacklisted.

The purpose was to get them in trouble and the government later clarified that enforcement action would not be taken against anyone who had received a ‘nominal and unsolicited’ amount of crypto from the Tornado Cash wallets.

By Brandon Craig
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