HomeCryptoDeveloper of Tornado Cash Convicted of Laundering $1.2 Billion in Crypto

Developer of Tornado Cash Convicted of Laundering $1.2 Billion in Crypto

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Developer of Crypto Anonymizing Tool Tornado Cash Found Guilty of Money Laundering in the Netherlands

The recent conviction of Alexey Pertsev, a developer behind the crypto anonymizing tool Tornado Cash, has sent shockwaves through the cryptocurrency community. A panel of judges in the Netherlands found Pertsev guilty of money laundering, alleging that the tool he created facilitated the laundering of $1.2 billion in stolen cryptocurrency by criminals, including hackers with ties to North Korea.

Pertsev was sentenced to five years and four months in prison, a term requested by prosecutors in the case. The court stated that with Tornado Cash, Pertsev created a shortcut for financing crimes and terrorism, choosing to turn a blind eye to the abuse and not taking any responsibility for the criminal activity facilitated by the tool.

Tornado Cash, like other crypto mixers or tumblers, is designed to mask the origin and destination of users’ coins by pooling and jumbling funds before sending them to new wallets. While these services are promoted as a way to enhance privacy for crypto users, they have been exploited for money laundering purposes.

The arrest of Pertsev followed the sanctioning of Tornado Cash in the United States, where it was deemed a threat to national security. Dutch prosecutors claim that over 30 percent of the funds passing through Tornado Cash between 2019 and 2022 were linked to money laundering activities, with Pertsev allegedly doing nothing to prevent the criminal behavior.

Pertsev’s defense argued that Tornado Cash operates on the Ethereum blockchain and is not under anyone’s direct control. However, prosecutors contended that Pertsev and other developers had de facto control through the web interface used for transactions, accusing him of not doing enough to prevent criminal activity.

The arrest and conviction of Pertsev have sparked protests among cryptocurrency and privacy advocates, who argue that holding a developer of open-source software responsible for user behavior sets a dangerous precedent and could stifle innovation in privacy-preserving technology. The case has raised important questions about the responsibility of developers in the crypto space and the balance between privacy and security in the digital age.

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