The Blockchain Association said June 2 that it filed an amicus brief to support a CoinCenter case that defends the coin mixer Tornado Cash.
Kristin Smith, CEO of the Blockchain Association, said:
“… Tornado Cash is simply a tool – 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.”
Smith said that the Blockchain Association “stands with Coin Center” and added that her group supports the “responsible and lawful” use of blockchain technology.
Software cannot be sanctioned
Marisa Tashman Coppel, Policy Counsel for the Blockchain Association, commented further, arguing that the Treasury and Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) could not legally sanction software such as Tornado Cash.
She asserted that OFAC could only sanction persons and property. She explained that Tornado Cash is not property because it is not owned by any entity and said that this argument holds even if Tornado Cash’s DAO is considered a person. Tornado Cash is “entirely distinct” from its DAO and would exist without the DAO, she claimed.
Copel said 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 Treasury and OFAC will respond before the court issues a ruling.
Two Tornado Cash lawsuits ongoing
The Blockchain Association’s brief concerns Coin Center’s lawsuit against OFAC and in defense of Tornado Cash. That 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 said that the Blockchain Association made similar arguments in both briefs.
Plaintiffs in Van Loon et al. filed further arguments on May 24, 2023.
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