Coin Center Sues US Treasury Over Tornado Cash Ban — Lawsuit Says Government’s Action ‘Was Unlawful’
The non-profit that focuses on policy issues facing cryptocurrencies, Coin Center, has filed a lawsuit against the Treasury department, the secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen, and the Office of Foreign Assets Control’s (OFAC) director Andrea Gacki. Coin Center’s court filing says that the government’s sanctioning of Tornado Cash exceeds the Treasury’s statutory authority. The Coin Center lawsuit insists that Americans have a right to privacy and a right to protect their property, as Tornado Cash can be used for these benefits in a legitimate fashion.
Coin Center’s Lawsuit Insists the US Treasury and OFAC Banning Tornado Cash Exceeded Their Statutory Authority
Coin Center is following Coinbase’s lead as it has sued the U.S. Treasury over the Tornado Cash ban, according to a court filing registered on October 12. Coinbase announced its lawsuit against the government’s department on September 8, 2022, in a blog post called “Defending Privacy in Crypto.” The non-profit Coin Center, an organization that specializes in addressing policy toward cryptocurrencies and blockchain tech, hinted at engaging with the Treasury on August 15.
The blog post published in mid-August said that by the U.S. Treasury treating autonomous code as a ‘person,’ “OFAC exceeds its statutory authority.” The lawsuit filed on Wednesday names OFAC director Andrea Gacki, and the current secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen. The suit highlights that the Treasury’s “defiance of this statutory element assumes an authority that would give them virtually unlimited control to regulate the American economy.”
Coin Center’s lawsuit adds:
Americans use Tornado Cash unilaterally to protect their own property.
Lawsuit Filed Against the Treasury Argues That There Are Legitimate Use-Cases for Tornado Cash
It’s been 65 days since OFAC banned the ethereum (ETH) mixer Tornado Cash, and as soon as it did, it was criticized heavily by a great number of crypto proponents and freedom advocates. Coin Center notes in the court filing that the plaintiffs are ethereum users, and the group summarizes how the Ethereum blockchain is fully transparent.
“To protect themselves, users of Ethereum employ privacy tools,” the lawsuit states. “These tools generally allow users to clear any publicly discernible connection between their past and future transactions. They do this by making transactions by the same person appear unrelated, thereby stymying bad actors who seek to track, stalk, retaliate, and endanger.”
Coin Center’s lawsuit adds:
Tornado Cash is [a] state-of-the-art privacy tool on Ethereum. It is a software program permanently stored on the Ethereum ledger, so it can be accessed or used by anyone.
Coin Center’s grievances with the Treasury are very similar to the issues Coinbase mentioned in September. Coinbase also said that “there are legitimate applications for this type of technology and as a result of these sanctions, many innocent users now have their funds trapped and have lost access to a critical privacy tool.” Coin Center’s lawsuit has been filed in Florida, and the filing declares that the defendant’s action on august 8 2022, when OFAC officially banned Tornado Cash “was unlawful.”
“As a result of the Biden Administration’s action, Americans who use Tornado Cash to protect their privacy while using their own assets are criminals,” Coin Center’s complaint further explains. “Additionally, their receipt of any asset through Tornado Cash, even one from a stranger that they did not solicit, is a federal crime. And their use of Tornado Cash to protect their expressive activities is criminal as well.”
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Jamie Redman is the News Lead at Bitcoin.com News and a financial tech journalist living in Florida. Redman has been an active member of the cryptocurrency community since 2011. He has a passion for Bitcoin, open-source code, and decentralized applications. Since September 2015, Redman has written more than 6,000 articles for Bitcoin.com News about the disruptive protocols emerging today.
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