Earlier this month, the US Treasury hit Tornado Cash with severe sanctions. For good reason, the cryptocurrency mixer is suspected of facilitating money laundering. In the process, GitHub removed the source code of the protocol and the accounts of some contributors involved in its development. Faced with this bitter situation, a researcher decided to put Tornado Cash’s repositories back online. Enough to send both GitHub and the US government into a frenzy.
Tornado Cash Case: A matter of violation of freedom
Matthew Green, a research professor at Johns Hopkins University, has published an archive of the source code for Tornado Cash and Tornado Cash Nova on Github. His goal? Denounce the censorship suffered by the crypto mixer.
“The purpose of this repository is to make it clear to the US Treasury Department and Github that this code has value, and that its removal has consequences that affect scientific researchers and students in the United States” did he confide.
Indeed, Green said his educational mission has suffered from the withdrawal of Tornado Cash deposits. Especially since his students were learning to design interesting projects based on it. Moreover, he went even further by referring to a violation of freedom of expression. Because in his eyes, the code is speech.
Github defends itself
Commenting on the news, a GitHub representative affirmed : “We strive to make open source code as widely accessible as possible while respecting US commercial laws. [De plus,] we carefully review government sanctions to ensure that users and customers are not impacted beyond what is required by law”.
At the moment, there is no evidence that Github has been subjected to any pressure from the government. However, to the extent that the company reacted in the hours following the announcement of the sanctions, it seems that its decision was influenced by it. This case clearly highlights the control that public authorities can have over the privacy of individuals.
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I came to blockchain out of curiosity and I stayed there out of passion. I was amazed by the possibilities it offers through its various use cases. With my pen, I hope to help democratize this technology and show how it can help make the world a better place.