Deep Dive Episode 243 – Is the Office of Foreign Assets Control’s Sanctioning of Tornado Cash a Threat to the Future of Financial Privacy?
Tornado Cash is an open source, decentralized cryptocurrency tumbler that was introduced in 2019. The service allows users to mix identifiable Ethereum cryptocurrency funds with others, thus obscuring the trail back to the funds original source. On August 8, 2022, the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned Tornado Cash, making it illegal for United States citizens, residents, and companies to receive or send money through the service. OFAC claims that Tornado cash is responsible for laundering more than $7 billion in virtual currencies, including money believed to be stolen by North Korea and criminal groups.
As opposed to sanctioning people, organizations, or particular addresses associated with rogue regimes, OFAC has sanctioned the code of Tornado Cash itself, causing critics to claim that OFAC has exceeded its statutory authority .
In this podcast, experts discuss OFAC’s blacklisting of Tornado Cash, potential litigation from opponents, and the broader implications for financial privacy, national security, and free speech.
Head of U.S. Policy and Strategic Advocacy
Electric Coin Company
Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics
Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
Associate Professor of Law
Antonin Scalia Law School
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