Congressman Tom Emmer writes letter to Treasury Secretary Yellen about cash sanctions 'unprecedented' Tornado
US Representative Tom Emmer of Minnesota is seeking clarity on the Office of Foreign Assets Control's (OFAC) recent ban on the Tornado Cash crypto mixer.
In a letter to Finance Secretary Janet Yellen, Emmer said that the unprecedented government sanction against Tornado Cash is unique in that it is applied to code that "enables privacy".
“We understand that Tornado Cash is simply anonymous software implemented on the blockchain that manages any tokens sent to it by Ethereum users.”
He said that the sanctions are the first to be imposed on something other than an individual or an institution, which poses a problem as the blockchain addresses affected are not have the ability to appeal and speak for themselves.
“To our knowledge, some Tornado Cash Ethereum addresses are not individuals or entities. Instead, they are smart contract addresses whose activity is determined exclusively by open source software found on the Ethereum blockchain.
In other words, the addresses do not appear to be people, entities or assets (all of which are targets of sanctions); Instead, they are widely distributed technological tools and they are not under the control of any single entity or natural person.” The lawmaker wrote the letter after OFAC banned Americans from using Tornado Cash, claiming it was a national security threat because of its relationship with cybercriminals, including hacking groups. Lazarus is backed by North Korea. The protocol's suspected developer was also arrested in the Netherlands for alleged money laundering.
Cryptocurrency advocacy group Coin Center is barring consideration of opposing OFAC's decision in court, saying that the agency has exceeded its regulatory authority in sanctioning the protocol.
Emmer says he shares OFAC's concerns about the illegal use of Tornado Cash, but notes that law-abiding people also use the service to anonymize legitimate transactions .
“The increasing adoption of decentralized technologies will certainly pose new challenges for OFAC. However, technology is neutral and expectations of privacy are normal.”
Aug 24, 2022