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GitHub lifts ban on Tornado Cash’s code repositories

GitHub lifts ban on Tornado Cash’s code repositories

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GitHub, the most widely used software hosting platform, has today reversed its decision to ban the open source of Tornado Cash entirely. However, despite the lifting of the ban, the functionality of code repositories is limited to “read only”, where visitors can only open and read the code.

The move comes days after the US Treasury Department clarified that sanctions against Tornado Cash do not cover sharing and reading the app’s code.

Tornado Cash ban

Tornado Cash was launched in 2019 as a privacy-protecting tool that aims to protect users’ financial activity on public blockchains such as Ethereum.

In August, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) blacklisted the use of Tornado Cash and certain Ethereum addresses connected to the application. OFAC mentioned that criminals used the app to launder money.

After being blacklisted by OFAC, GitHub banned and removed the entire Tornado Cash code to stay in compliance.

Why did GitHub reverse its Tornado Cash ban?

However, the US Treasury Department clarified on September 13 that blacklisting Tornado Cash did not prevent people from reading and sharing the app’s code.

An official message from the US Treasury Department read:

“U.S. sanctions provisions do not prevent U.S. persons from copying open source code and making it available online, discussing open source code, teaching, or incorporating it into written publications.”

Following this clarification, GitHub has changed the general ban on the app’s code, although not all Tornado Cash functionality on GitHub has been reinstated.

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