Arbitrum DAO Supports $1M Fund for Tornado Cash Devs Legal Defense

The Arbitrum DAO is currently voting on whether to provide financial support to the developers of Tornado Cash for their legal defense costs. If approved, the community would donate up to 600,000 ARB tokens, valued at approximately $1.3 million, in the first year. The proposal was put forward by an anonymous delegate named DK, with the aim of funding a strong legal defense for Roman Storm and Alexey Pertsev, the creators of Tornado Cash. The funds could also be used for public relations and advocacy efforts to raise awareness about privacy-preserving technologies and the legal challenges faced by developers in this field.

The proposal sets out different tiers for voting, depending on the level of funding, ranging from 200,000 to 600,000 ARB. Currently, more than 80% of the votes have been cast in favor of the highest funding tier. The voting deadline is March 14. The accusations against Tornado Cash and its founders relate to allegations that the platform facilitated the laundering of over $1 billion in illicit funds, including money tied to the Lazarus Group, a North Korean hacking organization. As a result, Tornado Cash has faced significant legal actions, including being added to the United States sanctions lists, effectively prohibiting US residents from using the service and sparking controversy within the cryptocurrency community.

Supporters of Tornado Cash argue that the platform merely provides software for decentralized money transmission and does not directly engage in money transmission itself, challenging the basis of the charges against the developers. According to Coin Center, a crypto advocacy group, guidelines from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) state that a provider of anonymizing software should not be considered a money transmitter. Storm and Pertsev are facing several charges from US authorities, including conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to commit sanctions violations, and conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money-transmitting business. The first two charges carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, while the charge for operating an unlicensed money-transmitting business is punishable by up to five years in prison.

The community proposal aims to not only support the developers in their legal battles but also protect the principles of innovation, decentralization, and individual sovereignty within the industry. It comes shortly after the crowdfunding platform GoFundMe canceled a fundraising campaign that was set up to collect legal fees for Storm and Pertsev. The campaign was terminated due to a perceived violation of GoFundMe’s terms of service, which seeks to avoid any harm or liability for the platform, its employees, or users.

Junia Hedrick

Junia Hedrick

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