Nym CEO Slams Tornado Cash Sanctions as “Unfair”

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This post was originally published on cryptonewsfarm.com

Crypto Privacy Advocate Slams Developer Sentence: “Unfair” Punishment for Tornado Cash?

Harry Halpin, CEO of the privacy-focused project Nym, has strongly condemned the recent sentencing of Alexey Pertsev, a developer of the cryptocurrency mixing service Tornado Cash.

In a recent interview, Halpin criticized the sentence as “radically unfair and unreasonable.” He questioned the logic of holding software developers responsible for how their tools are used, even by criminals.

“The punishment is not proportional,” Halpin argued. “Putting someone in jail for years because someone in North Korea used your software? People in North Korea use Linux too. Will we jail Richard Stallman [founder of Linux] next? Or Bill Gates because some use stolen copies of Windows?”

Halpin went further, highlighting the historical importance of digital privacy. He compared the Netherlands, where Pertsev was sentenced, to France during World War II. The Netherlands’ robust identity tracking systems, absent in France, allowed the Nazis to more easily target and exterminate Jewish populations.

“Modern surveillance systems are even more powerful than those of the 1930s,” Halpin said. “It’s surprising that the Dutch courts haven’t learned this historical lesson.” Pertsev received a 64-month prison sentence in May 2024 for his role in developing Tornado Cash. Halpin urged him to appeal the verdict.

Tornado Cash in the Crosshairs

The controversy surrounding Tornado Cash stems from US sanctions levied in 2022. The US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) accused the service of facilitating money laundering and aiding sanctioned entities in circumventing US restrictions. Authorities claim over $1 billion in illicit funds were laundered through Tornado Cash.

In 2023, a US court upheld the sanctions, followed by charges against two other Tornado Cash developers, Roman Storm and Roman Semenov. Both face money laundering and sanctions violations charges in the US, where their cases are ongoing.

Announcing the charges, US Attorney General Merrick Garland stated, “These charges serve as a warning to those who think they can use cryptocurrency for crime. It doesn’t matter how sophisticated your scheme is. The Justice Department will find you.”

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Author: Michael

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