GitHub Reverses Tornado Cash Ban But There’s a Catch
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The US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) selected the popular cryptocurrency Tornado Cash for its Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) sanctions list last month, prompting an outcry from privacy and free speech advocates. Later, Microsoft-owned GitHub removed its source code and closed the user accounts of three people who contributed code to the project.
In a recent turn of events, the platform removed the ban on coin mixer and platform assistants. However, Ethereum dev Preston Van Loon reports that the repos are currently in “read-only” mode tweeted that the hosting service does not yet Undo all actions and restore the data stores to their previous state.
Loon believes the change is still “progress from an outright ban.”
Clarification of interaction with Tornado Cash
Tornado Cash’s return to GitHub follows a clarification issued earlier this month by the US Treasury Department that merely “interacting” with open source code under certain conditions does not violate OFAC sanctions.
“US sanctions provisions would not prevent US persons from copying open source code and making it available to others online, and from discussing, teaching, or including open source code in books or written publications.
Accordingly, U.S. persons would not be prohibited under U.S. sanctions regulations from visiting the Internet archives of the Tornado Cash Historical Website, nor would they be prohibited from visiting the Tornado Cash Website if it becomes active again on the Internet.
The interaction must not include an event prohibited according to the instructions. Individuals who initiate transactions on the mixer prior to the imposition of sanctions on August 8 may apply for an OFAC license to execute a transaction or make a withdrawal.
Tornado Cash Unofficial Archive
In addition to the partial restoration, Johns Hopkins University cryptography professor Matthew Green published an unofficial archive of Tornado Cash’s code on GitHub in August with the support of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). Condemning the host site’s earlier move, the researcher, along with his EFF colleague Kurt Opsahl, said that if the code is taken down again, they will appeal the decision in court.
While the fate of Tornado Cash remains unclear, the restrictions managed to garner considerable industry support. Coinbase, one, was revealed to pay the bill for the lawsuit brought by six people in the country against the Ministry of Finance.
The exchange said in its announcement that, instead of targeting bad actors or the assets they control, OFAC imposed sanctions on open-source technology, “a tool that many innocent people use legitimately, although some bad actors also use it.” “
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