The Blockchain Association joins the fight against sanctions against Tornado Cash

The Blockchain Association joins the fight against sanctions against Tornado Cash


Neither the author, Tim Fries, nor this website, The Tokenist, provides financial advice. Please see our website guidelines before making any financial decisions.

This Friday, the Blockchain Association and the DeFi Education Fund filed an amicus brief supporting Coin Center’s lawsuit against the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). The lawsuit and filing concern OFAC’s sanctioning of Tornado Cash, a cryptocurrency float, which was announced last summer.

Advocacy Groups File Amicus Briefs Supporting Coin Center’s Lawsuit

On June 2, the Blockchain Association filed an amicus brief alongside the DeFi Education Fund in Coin Center’s ongoing lawsuit against OFAC. The lawsuit was filed to challenge the blacklisting of Tornado Cash, a cryptocurrency mixer.

The brief calls OFAC’s sanctioning of the mixer “unprecedented and unlawful.” It also describes Tradusry’s decision as “arbitrary and capricious” and says it exceeds the department’s authority.

Furthermore, the Blockchain Association and the DeFi Education Fund both highlighted the importance of privacy in the world of digital assets and Tornado Cash’s key role in ensuring that privacy. The groups also echoed Coin Center’s claim that the blacklist is clearly illegal.

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Coin Center claims sanctioning Tornado Cash is unconstitutional

OFAC’s decision to blacklist Tornado Cash last summer was highly controversial from the start. Shortly after the sanctions were announced, a crypto advocacy group called Coin Center published an analysis that considers they may actually be unconstitutional as well.

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Coin Center argued that the fact that Tornado Cash is a piece of open source software makes it unsanctionable and protected by the Constitution as a form of free speech. Therefore, in October 2022, the group sued OFAC to remove the blacklist.

Despite the setback, the US Treasury has remained committed to its decision. In November, it published additional information about sanctioning Tornado Cash and alleged that the cryptocurrency mixer was also used to fund North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

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Do you think OFAC will be forced to lift the sanctions it placed on Tornado Cash? Let us know in the comments below.

About the author

Tim Fries is the co-founder of The Tokenist. He has a B. Sc. in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan, and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Tim served as a Senior Associate in the investment team at RW Baird’s US Private Equity division and is also a co-founder of Protective Technologies Capital, an investment firm specializing in sensing, protection and control solutions.


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