Crypto asks First- POLITICO

Crypto asks First- POLITICO

With help from Derek Robertson

In the last 24 hours, a video of a bearded man buzzing lines of computer code using an auto-tuner has achieved less virality on the web.

In addition to being funny, the video gets to the heart of an important legal question hanging over the digital age: How does the First Amendment apply to computer code?

In the song, by musician Jonathan Mann, the lyrics are lines of code from Tornado Cash, a software tool called a “mixer” used to hide the origin of crypto-tokens, which the Treasury Department sanctioned last week after it was used by North Korean hackers.

The chorus of Mann’s song — “This is illegal” — argues that the sanctions amount to a constitutionally questionable ban on discussing the Tornado Cash code itself.