The Blockchain Association has shown its support for the coin mixer Tornado Cash by filing an amicus brief to support a CoinCenter case that defends the coin mixer. The CEO of the Blockchain Association, Kristin Smith, has stated that Tornado Cash is simply a tool and punishing the tool itself simply because it can be used by anyone, including bad actors, runs contrary to the values the U.S. was founded upon. The Blockchain Association supports the responsible and lawful use of blockchain technology and stands with Coin Center.

The Legal Issues Surrounding Tornado Cash

Marisa Tashman Coppel, Policy Counsel for the Blockchain Association, has argued that the Treasury and Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) could not legally sanction software such as Tornado Cash. She has stated that OFAC could only sanction persons and property. Tornado Cash is not property because it is not owned by any entity and this argument holds even if Tornado Cash’s DAO is considered as a person. Tornado Cash is entirely distinct from its DAO and would exist without the DAO. Copel has argued that OFAC had infringed on free speech rights and due process by sanctioning the Tornado Cash coin mixer protocol and failed to give individuals who were using the service fair notice before it imposed restrictions.

The Legal Battle Over Tornado Cash

The Blockchain Association’s brief concerns Coin Center’s lawsuit against OFAC and in defense of Tornado Cash. This lawsuit was initiated in October 2022. CoinCenter’s lawsuit followed an earlier suit in September 2022 where six individuals, including Ethereum developer Preston Van Loon, Joseph Van Loon, and two Coinbase employees, filed a lawsuit against OFAC’s treatment of Tornado Cash. The Blockchain Association also filed an amicus brief in support of Van Loon et al. in April. Coppel has stated that the Blockchain Association made similar arguments in both briefs. Plaintiffs in Van Loon et al. filed further arguments on May 24, 2023. The Treasury and OFAC will respond before the court issues a ruling.

The legal battle over Tornado Cash continues, with the Blockchain Association providing support to Coin Center in defense of Tornado Cash. The argument is that Tornado Cash is merely a tool and should not be punished simply because it can be used by bad actors. Moreover, the argument is that OFAC can only sanction persons and property and not software like Tornado Cash. The legal implications of this case will be significant for the use of blockchain technology in the future.


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