The nonprofit organization that focuses on policy issues facing cryptocurrencies, Coin Center, has filed a lawsuit against the Treasury Department, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, and the director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control. (OFAC), Andrea Gacki. Coin Center’s court filing says the Tornado Cash government sanction exceeds Treasury’s statutory authority. The Coin Center lawsuit insists that Americans have a right to privacy and a right to protect their property, as Tornado Cash can be legitimately used for these benefits.
Coin Center lawsuit insists US Treasury and OFAC in banning Tornado Cash exceeded their legal authority
Coin Center is following Coinbase’s lead as it sued the US Treasury over the ban on Tornado Cash, according to a court filing filed Oct. 12. Coinbase announced its lawsuit against the government department on September 8, 2022, in a blog post called “Defending Privacy in Crypto.” The nonprofit Coin Center, an organization that specializes in addressing cryptocurrency policy and blockchain technology, hinted at a compromise with the Treasury on August 15.
The blog post published in mid-August said that the US Department of the Treasury treated autonomous code as a ‘person’, “OFAC exceeds its legal authority.” The lawsuit filed Wednesday names OFAC Director Andrea Gacki and current Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. The suit notes that Treasury’s “defiance of this statutory element assumes authority that would give them virtually unlimited control in regulating the US economy.”
The Coin Center lawsuit adds:
Americans use Tornado Cash unilaterally to protect their property.
Lawsuit Filed Against Treasury Argues There Are Legitimate Use Cases for Tornado Cash
It has been 65 days since OFAC banned ethereum (ETH) mixer Tornado Cash, and as soon as it did, it was heavily criticized by a host of cryptocurrency advocates and freedom fighters. Coin Center notes in the court filing that the plaintiffs are Ethereum users, and the group summarizes how the Ethereum blockchain is completely transparent.
“To protect themselves, Ethereum users employ privacy tools,” the lawsuit states. “These tools generally allow users to erase any publicly perceivable connection between their past and future transactions. They do this by making transactions made by the same person appear unrelated, which blocks bad actors looking to track, stalk, retaliate, and compromise.”
The Coin Center lawsuit adds:
Tornado Cash is [a] state-of-the-art privacy tool on Ethereum. It is a software program permanently stored in the Ethereum ledger, so anyone can access or use it.
Coin Center’s complaints with Treasury are very similar to the issues Coinbase mentioned in September. Coinbase also said that “legitimate applications exist for this type of technology, and as a result of these sanctions, many innocent users now have their funds trapped and have lost access to a critical privacy tool.” Coin Center’s lawsuit was filed in Florida, and the filing states that the defendant’s action on August 8, 2022, when OFAC officially banned Tornado Cash “was unlawful.”
“As a result of the Biden Administration’s action, Americans who use Tornado Cash to protect their privacy while using their own assets are criminals,” the Coin Center complaint further explains. “Furthermore, receiving any asset through Tornado Cash, even one from an unsolicited stranger, is a federal crime. And his use of Tornado Cash to protect his expressive activities is also criminal.”
What do you think about Coin Center suing the US Treasury for sanctioning ethereum mixer Tornado Cash? Let us know what you think about this topic in the comments section below.
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