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Ultimate Resource On Tornado Cash And It’s Impact On Freedom Of Speech (#GotBitcoin)

Ethereum Privacy Protocol Tornado Cash To Launch On L2 Arbitrum. Ultimate Resource On Tornado Cash And It’s Impact On Freedom Of Speech (#GotBitcoin)

Once fully deployed, users will be able to make private transactions through the popular Tornado Cash mixer on the Arbitrum layer two network.

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Tornado Cash is about to get a scaling boost as the privacy protocol prepares for deployment on the Ethereum layer two network Arbitrum.


Tornado Cash’s smart contracts are ready to roll on thArbitrum Layer 2 scaling network following contributions from the community to ensure the stability of the protocol.

 

Ultimate Resource On Tornado Cash And It's Impact On Freedom Of Speech (#GotBitcoin)

The Monday announcement explained that deploying on Arbitrum will “allow users to take advantage of all the benefits a Layer 2 can offer, with cheaper transactions being the biggest comparative advantage.”

Tornado Cash is a fully decentralized Ethereum (ETH) mixer protocol. Tornado Cash masks the path that tokens such as ETH take from sender to receiver, providing completely private transactions without the need to use privacy-focused coins.

Layer two networks on Ethereum boast faster transactions and cheaper fees while still benefiting from the security and decentralization of Ethereum.

The Tornado Cash team believes that the deployment onto Arbitrum will allow more users to perform private crypto transactions while avoiding Ethereum’s high gas fees.

L2 transactions are expected to be around 95% cheaper than those on L1 Ethereum, according to the team.

In order to use Tornado Cash on Arbitrum, users must first send ETH, ERC-20, and ERC-721 tokens from Ethereum to Arbitrum via the Arbitrum Bridge.

Arbitrum is currently the biggest L2 on Ethereum with $2.68 billion in total value locked, representing 39% of the L2 market share. This is second only to Boba Network’s $1.38 billion in TVL, making Boba and Arbitrum the only two L2’s with over $1 billion in TVL, according to L2Beat.

The number of unique addresses on Arbitrum has grown steadily since September and stands at 291,876 as of the time of writing. Tornado Cash has $847 million in TVL according to DeFiPulse.

As reported by Cointelegraph, Tornado Cash unveiled its TORN governance token in Dec. 2020 and airdropped them to users in February 2021.

Updated: 1-21-2022

Is Tornado Cash Complicit In Laundering Crypto? It’s Complicated, Says Former DEA Agent

Obfuscation of the money trail isn’t necessarily money laundering, according to the expert, but it still makes the protocol worthy of being treated with suspicion.

In many ways, Crypto.com’s hack is now case closed. Technical details of the hack were released (the amount stolen was updated to $33 million) Thursday in a postmortem, and the 483 users who had their funds stolen were reimbursed by the exchange.

But at the center of the episode is Tornado Cash, a mixing protocol that obscures details of transactions on a blockchain in order to throw off investigators.

Mixers, also known as tumblers, aren’t new; they’ve been around almost as long as blockchain technology itself. Almost universally, the fate of mixers has been the same – shutdown and arrests.

In the case of the darknet bitcoin mixing service Helix, former U.S. Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski wrote in a press statement announcing the service’s shutdown and arrest of operator Larry Dean Harmon: “This indictment underscores that seeking to obscure virtual currency transactions in this way is a crime.”

At the time, many thought this was a troubling precedent for mixers and the technology behind them, although it should be noted that Harmon pleaded guilty and so the prosecution never had to prove its case that Harmon was laundering money.

“Is Tornado Cash laundering money? They are certainly obfuscating it. But I’d be careful with the term money laundering,” Bill Callahan, a retired Drug Enforcement Agency agent and now director of government affairs at the Blockchain Intelligence Group, told CoinDesk.

Money laundering requires three things: placement, layering and integration, Callahan said. As the crypto is already in the system, Callahan doesn’t think it would necessarily meet the traditional definition of money laundering.

“Pretend I’m running away from police with a bag of cash and jumping over fences, trying to evade capture … that’s not money laundering,” he said. “If Tornado Cash knows who deposited the money and who took it out, that’s not money laundering.”
Self-executing code is mixing crypto

Another key difference between Tornado Cash and prior mixers is that Tornado Cash is autonomous, decentralized permissionless code similar to decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols.

Just like how Terraform Labs might argue that it’s not liable for violating securities laws because it doesn’t sell securities – it only creates open-source, decentralized software that allows others to do the issuance – Tornado Cash’s founders might argue that they aren’t liable because they just built the protocol and aren’t hosting it.

Self-executing code, once it has been released is just that: something autonomous and beyond the control of its creator.

Roman Semenov, Tornado Cash’s co-founder, didn’t reply to a request for comment.

Terraform Labs’ case is before the courts, and so that argument has yet to be tested. But Callahan personally doesn’t buy it.

“There’s going to be a human creator behind it somewhere that’s held liable. That’s another question,” he said. “Smart contracts are not legal contracts.”
Are Tornado Cash’s compliance tools useful?

For its part, Tornado Cash says it offers compliance tools like a cryptographic note that can prove the provenance of funds.

But Stephen Sargeant, an independent anti-money laundering (AML) consultant currently contracted to crypto exchange Bitfinex, questions its utility.

“The compliance tool that Tornado Cash has doesn’t help law enforcement unless law enforcement is interacting with the person that stole the funds,” he told CoinDesk in an interview.

“They make it so that law enforcement can approach a person that has interacted with Tornado Cash, and they can give law enforcement a deep dive into all of their transactions.”

So if law enforcement has users of Tornado Cash in their custody, the tool is useful in the evidentiary process. But if they don’t, it’s not much help.

Sargeant notes that Tornado Cash does comply with the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) list of known crypto wallets tied to specially designated nationals – people who have been sanctioned. If it didn’t do that, OFAC would begin to target mixers, which in turn would get tokens, such as Tornado Cash’s, removed from exchanges, killing its liquidity overnight.

The other red line for mixers, Sargeant said, is getting involved in pilfering cash from ransomware attacks, such as what happened last year with Colonial Pipeline.

Touching the proceeds of ransomware attacks is going to be met with the same severity as touching terror financing in the years following 9/11. Any sort of arguments about being decentralized aren’t going to hold up to the fire and fury law enforcement and prosecutors will bring down, he said.

Even though there could be a legitimate use for Tornado Cash in an era of hyper-political divisiveness and de-platforming, Sargeant sees Tornado Cash as suspicious. “I don’t think there are that many privacy-conscious people that can put through $10 billion in volume in such a short period of time,” he said.
Naturally suspicious

As an AML consultant at Bitfinex, Sargeant said that he would definitely question any funds coming in from Tornado Cash and need to see more information about source of funds. Trying to load a large amount of capital moved through Tornado Cash onto an exchange would be the equivalent of walking into a bank with a duffel bag full of cash.

According to Sargeant, there is almost always a connection to Binance and Huobi, two exchanges that are being investigated for playing fast-and-loose with know-your-customer (KYC) rules and known to be home to many nested accounts (Binance has acknowledged it has a nesting problem).

But other exchanges also have the same problem, to a lesser extent, and it would be tough to claim that anyone is deliberately profiting from illicit activity – even the Tornado Cash token itself – as around 3% of all crypto volume comes from illicit activities.

“It’s tough to say they are making a profit from illicit activity. … Every service provider has a certain amount of illicit activity,” Sargeant said.

 

Updated: 4-15-2022

Tornado Cash Says It’s Using Chainalysis Oracles To Block Access From OFAC Sanctioned Addresses

Many DeFi exploits in the past have been linked to the popular crypto-mixing protocol.

On Friday, Tornado Cash announced that it was using oracle contracts from Chainalysis to block wallet addresses sanctioned by the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC.

The move comes after the U.S. Department of the Treasury linked North Korean cybercriminal Lazarus Group as an alleged perpetrator for the recent $600 million+ Ronin Bridge exploit.

As told by blockchain analytics firm Elliptic, the hackers have sent approximately $80.3 million worth of Ether (ETH) through Tornado Cash. “Maintaining financial privacy is essential to preserving our freedom; however, it should not come at the cost of non-compliance,” said the Tornado Cash team.

Tornado Cash is a popular cryptocurrency mixture used to obfuscate the trail of transactions for privacy. The Chainalysis Sanctions Oracle can validate if a cryptocurrency wallet address has been included in a sanctions designation from the United States, European Union or United Nations.

But Tornado Cash co-founder Roman Semenov later clarified that the instrument only blocks access to the decentralized application, or DApp, interface and not the underlying smart contract.

There have been traces of Tornado Cash in several controversial decentralized finance activities. In February’s $375 million Wormhole exploit, hackers experimented with Tornado Cash using stolen funds.

The same month, the LooksRare team also partly used Tornado Cash to cash out over $30 million in crypto.

A recent Rare Bears Discord phishing attack that nabbed $800 thousand in nonfungible tokens (NFTs) also involved hackers funneling the stolen funds through Tornado Cash.

Reports also emerged that funds from a $33 million Crypto.com exploit were being laundered via the DApp.

However, it appears that Semenov has had enough of the protocol’s association with alleged illicit activities, discussing the potential consequence of jail time for noncompliance with regulators in blocking access to blacklisted individuals.

Updated: 7-7-2022

Controversial Mixer Tornado Cash Open-Sources UI Code

The decentralized solution has grown in popularity over the past two years as more cryptocurrency users have sought privacy-preserving protocols.

Cryptocurrency mixer Tornado Cash has fully open-sourced its user interface (UI) code — a move its developers say fulfills their mandate of complete decentralization and transparency.

Tornado Cash Classic UI became fully open-sourced on Thursday, the protocol’s anonymous developers announced in a Medium blog post.

Although the protocol’s UI has been decentralized since 2020, its open sourcing means anyone can analyze Tornado Cash’s UI pools and make pull requests to improve the project.

In the software development world, a pull request is when a developer is ready to merge new code changes with the project’s main repository.

Technically, Tornado Cash’s open-sourcing allows anyone to fork the repository and modify the code as they see fit.

“We personally grew fond of the black & green floating astronaut associated with the protocol,” the developers said, referring to the current website interface. “However, you should know our credo by now: We will always lean towards more decentralization.

As far as we are concerned, our DAO took a step further with this great progress.”

A DAO, or decentralized autonomous organization, is an internet-native organization collectively managed by its members with no central authority or leadership. Tornado Cash first announced its DAO in mid-2020.

Tornado Cash currently has over $300 million in total value locked, or TVL, according to DeFi Llama. This figure was closer to $850 million in November 2021 when the project announced the launch of its layer-2 scaling network on Arbitrum.

The Tornado Cash protocol has been at the center of several decentralized finance exploits, including the $375 million wormhole attack in February and the more recent $100 million Horizon Bridge hack. Currently, the protocol supports mixing a maximum of 100 Ether (ETH) at a time.

Tornado Cash was also used following the $600 million hack of Axie Infinity’s Ronin software bridge in March. According to VICE, the hackers were successful in sending a portion of the proceeds, roughly $100 million at the time, to the protocol.

As Bloomberg later reported, roughly 2,000 ETH lifted from the software bridge was moved to the protocol in batches of 100 ETH beginning in early April.

However, the Tornado Cash community and developers have cautioned people not to automatically associate the protocol with malicious behavior as virtually any digital tool can be used with unlawful intent.

The protocol has been designed to hand over ownership of privacy to cryptocurrency users so that they can decide when and with whom to share their information.

According to the Tornado Cash website, the protocol has a compliance tool that allows users to prove the source of their funds.

“Unfortunately, some news & stories come to tarnish the image of privacy tools such as Tornado Cash,” community members elected by the protocol’s DAO wrote in a Medium post earlier this year, adding:

“Community members of Tornado Cash DO NOT support such unlawful usage of the tool. It stands miles away from the values conveyed by the DAO. You cannot imagine how infuriating it is to notice that a few people can call into question both Tornado Cash’s reputation & our own usage of the protocol.”

 

Updated: 8-8-2022

US Treasury Sanctions USDC And ETH Addresses Connected To Tornado Cash

The protocol was at the center of some recent hacks and exploits in decentralized finance, including the alleged theft of $455 million by the North Korea-affiliated Lazarus Group.

The United States Treasury Department has added more than 40 cryptocurrency addresses allegedly connected to controversial mixer Tornado Cash to the Specially Designated Nationals list of the Office of Foreign Asset Control, or OFAC.

In a Monday announcement, OFAC effectively barred U.S. residents from using Tornado Cash and placed 44 USD Coin (USDC) and Ether (ETH) addresses connected to the mixer on its list of Specially Designated Nationals.

The department alleged that individuals and groups had used the mixer to launder more than $7 billion worth of crypto since 2019, including the $455 million stolen by the North Korea-affiliated Lazarus Group.

The protocol was also at the center of some recent hacks and exploits in decentralized finance, including a $375-million attack on Wormhole in February and a $100-million hack on Horizon Bridge in June.

“Despite public assurances otherwise, Tornado Cash has repeatedly failed to impose effective controls designed to stop it from laundering funds for malicious cyber actors on a regular basis and without basic measures to address its risks,” said Brian Nelson, Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.

“Treasury will continue to aggressively pursue actions against mixers that launder virtual currency for criminals and those who assist them.”

In a tweet on Monday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken falsely claimed Tornado Cash was a “U.S.-sanctioned, DPRK state-sponsored hacking group, used by the DPRK to launder money.”

He later deleted the post and tweeted the crypto mixer “has been used to launder money for a U.S.-sanctioned DPRK state-sponsored cyber hacking group.”

Ultimate Resource On Tornado Cash And It's Impact On Freedom Of Speech (#GotBitcoin)

The Treasury Department took similar steps against cryptocurrency mixer Blender.io in May. According to OFAC, the mixer allegedly processed $20.5 million out of approximately $620 million stolen from the play-to-earn game Axie Infinity’s Ronin Bridge — roughly 173,600 ETH and 25.5 million USDC.

Under OFAC sanctions, firms and individuals have their assets blocked and “U.S. persons are generally prohibited from dealing with them.”

Tornado Cash announced in July that it had fully open-sourced its user interface code as part of its goals toward complete decentralization and transparency. The mixer’s website included a compliance tool that allowed users to show the source of any transaction.

US Secretary of State Tweets, Deletes Claim That Crypto Mixer Tornado Cash Is North Korea-Sponsored

One hour and three minutes later, Anthony Blinken tweeted what the Treasury Department actually alleges: Tornado Cash was only used by a DPRK-sponsored group.

The U.S.’s top diplomat appeared to claim – briefly, anyway – that cryptocurrency mixing service Tornado Cash was a North Korean hacking group.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken raised eyebrows Monday when he tweeted that the U.S. Treasury Department had “sanctioned virtual currency mixer Tornado Cash, which is a U.S.-sanctioned, [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, North Korea’s official name] state-sponsored hacking group, used by the DPRK to launder money.”

One hour and three minutes later, the tweet had been deleted and replaced with what the Treasury Department actually alleged earlier that day: Tornado Cash was used by a North Korean hacking group to launder funds.

Blinken did not mention the deleted tweet in his subsequent one. The State Department responded to CoinDesk’s request for comment with a link to the press release announcing the Tornado Cash sanctions.

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) added Tornado Cash and more than 40 Ethereum and USDC addresses associated with the crypto mixing service to the agency’s Specially Designated Nationals list Monday. OFAC claims the mixing service has been used for money laundering and other illicit purposes.

In particular, a senior Treasury official said Lazarus Group, a North Korean hacking entity, had moved hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of crypto stolen from various exchange and bridge hacks through Tornado Cash.

Ari Redbord, the head of legal and government affairs at analytics provider TRM Labs, told CoinDesk the sanctioning is “the largest, most impactful action by Treasury to date in the crypto space.”

Crypto think tank Coin Center warned that Monday’s action was broader than previous crypto-related sanctions designations because it targeted a decentralized protocol rather than any specific group of individuals.

At press time, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen had not commented on her department’s sanctions.

US Government Amps Up Inevitable Clash With Crypto Privacy In Tornado Cash Blacklisting

The Treasury Department says Tornado Cash abetted laundering of $7 billion, but that’s not likely to quiet crypto enthusiasts as they fight to stay anonymous.

The instant Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin white paper came out in 2008, it was certain there’d be a clash between cryptocurrency’s privacy ethos and conventional banking regulations designed to ensure money moving through the financial system isn’t coming from, or going toward, something illegal.

Step by step, bank overseers have widened their enforcement territory to include digital assets.

In one sense, crypto was their dream financial system, with the path of most transactions auditable on a public ledger, albeit with the identities of senders and receivers hidden behind alphanumeric addresses that looked like they’d been typed by a cat crawling on a keyboard.

If the users bought or cashed out their crypto at regulated exchanges, governments could subpoena those companies for their real-world identities.

Crypto enthusiasts responded with new ways to obfuscate the origins and destinations of transactions. Tornado Cash, for instance, mixes its users’ coins together so the actions of individuals are hard to track.

When the U.S. Treasury Department blacklisted Tornado Cash on Monday, banning all Americans from using the service, regulators dramatically escalated that battle as they seek to squash the free-wheeling (if imperfect) anonymity of crypto.

The U.S. said Tornado Cash has been used to launder more than $7 billion. That includes $455 million stolen by Lazarus Group, the North Korean hacking group, and at least $7.8 million from this month’s Nomad exploit.

“The crypto space talks about wanting to go mainstream and be a new financial system,” said Yaya Fanusie, an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security who also consults on crypto money-laundering safeguards and is a former CIA analyst.

“If you want to play in the big leagues, you’re going to have to play with big regulation. Mixers are by themselves not illegal nor illicit. What’s illicit is how a tool is used.”

Everyone from traditional finance knows the drill: Financial firms are required to figure out who their customers are and take steps to prevent money laundering and sanctions evasion.

Opening a bank or brokerage account? You’ve got to have an ID. Over in crypto, meanwhile, anonymity is a tent pole of the culture, so the drive to create something like Tornado Cash is no surprise.

A co-founder of Tornado Cash told CoinDesk earlier this year that the technology was basically unstoppable. The developers behind Tornado Cash had little control over what users did through it, Roman Semenov said in an interview published in January.

“There is not much we can do in terms of helping investigations because the team doesn’t have much control over the protocol,” he said.

But U.S. financial regulators are trying to prove Semenov wrong through the action announced Monday – though the code that runs the project is publicly available, so in theory someone else could start a clone or just use different Ethereum addresses than the ones the Treasury Department blacklisted.

Tornado Cash was added to the Specially Designated Nationals list, meaning Americans face criminal penalties if they interact with Tornado Cash or Ethereum addresses tied to the protocol. Among other uses, the SDN list is one of the tools the U.S. government has used to punish Russia.

The crackdown does raise a question that’s long swirled around crypto: Paper money is anonymous, just like crypto, so why are attempts to cover tracks in crypto being singled out? A natural retort is that money laundering and sanctions evasion are what’s being targeted here, just as they would be with real U.S. dollar bills.

“Tornado Cash has repeatedly failed to impose effective controls designed to stop it from laundering funds for malicious cyber actors on a regular basis and without basic measures to address its risks,” Undersecretary of the Treasury Department’s Terrorism and Financial Intelligence agency Brian E. Nelson said in a statement Monday.

But that’s not likely to quiet the calls of crypto enthusiasts who want to retain user privacy. Coin Center, a crypto think tank, blasted the action taken against Tornado Coin.

“It is not any specific bad actor who is being sanctioned, but instead it is all Americans who may wish to use this automated tool in order to protect their own privacy while transacting online who are having their liberty curtailed without the benefit of any due process,” it wrote in the aftermath of the announcement.

Updated: 8-9-2022

Anonymous User Sends ETH From Tornado Cash To Prominent Figures Following Sanctions

It appears to be an ongoing prank to challenge the novel Tornado Cash sanctions.

On Tuesday, one day after the U.S. Treasury sanctioned cryptocurrency mixer Tornado Cash for its alleged role in cryptocurrency money laundering operations, intervals of 0.1 Ether (ETH) transactions began materializing from the smart contract to prominent figures such as Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong and American television host Jimmy Fallon.

It is not possible to trace the source of the transactions per Tornado Cash design, and as a result, either one individual or multiple individuals or entities could be involved in the operation.

Due to sanctions, it is illegal for any U.S. persons and entities to interact with Tornado Cash’s smart contract addresses, blockchain or business-wise.

Penalties for willful noncompliance can range from fines of $50,000 to $10,000,000 and 10 to 30 years imprisonment.

The consistency of the transactions indicate that the sender(s) may be starting a prank as to direct law enforcement attention to the recipient individuals.

However, the Treasury sanctions require “willful” engagement with the blacklisted smart contract addresses as a precondition for possible criminal proceedings.

Thus, it is unlikely that the receipt of tokens from Tornado Cash on a gratuitous basis, without any prior knowledge nor engagement, can constitute a violation of the sanctions.

The same day, Web3 development platforms Alchemy and Infura.io joined stablecoin issuer Circle and programming depository vault GitHub in blacklisting the sanctioned Tornado Cash addresses and barring access to its front-end application.

Months prior, Tornado Cash attempted to address ongoing concerns that its platform was being used by malicious hackers to launder stolen crypto funds by disabling illicit wallets from accessing the application.

However, its co-founder, Roman Semenov said at the time that the instrument only blocks access to the decentralized application, or DApp, interface and not the underlying smart contract.

Months prior, Tornado Cash attempted to address ongoing concerns that its platform was being used by malicious hackers to launder stolen crypto funds by disabling illicit wallets from accessing the application.

However, its co-founder, Roman Semenov said at the time that the instrument only blocks access to the decentralized application, or DApp, interface and not the underlying smart contract.

Updated: 8-10-2022

Cloning Tornado Cash Would Be Easy, But Risky

The sanctioned Ethereum mixer’s code is open source. Anyone can copy and run it. The hard part: winning user trust – and staying out of the U.S. government’s crosshairs.

What’s stopping anyone from redeploying the Tornado Cash contract on a new, non-sanctioned address? Technically nothing. But there are a slew of reasons – legal and technical – why it may not be in an individual’s best interest to challenge the will of the U.S. government.

On Monday, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took the unprecedented step of sanctioning the popular cryptocurrency transaction anonymizer.

All U.S. “persons” are thus barred from interacting with this smart contract, and could face the type of penalties usually reserved for terrorist financiers or mob bosses if not in compliance.

Already there have been attempts to thwart what some see as an overzealous attempt to rein in the crypto industry. A pseudonymous crypto user is sending small ETH payments from a Tornado Cash wallet to high-profile crypto holders, making them inadvertently interact with a sanctioned entity (because crypto transactions cannot be refused) in what’s called a “dust attack.”

Industry think tank Coin Center, among others, is questioning the constitutionality of an outright ban of an open-source project.

Members of the Tornado Cash Telegram channel are sharing advice on how to access the application through identity-protecting servers including the Brave and Tor browsers.

Others have noted that because Tornado Cash’s code is open source, and because Ethereum is a permissionless blockchain, it would be trivially easy to simply reconstruct the service.

If you know how to copy and paste and know how to deploy a smart contract, you could be done by dinner.

There are many justifiable reasons someone would want to interact with Tornado, which until Monday was a legal and globally-accessible service.

Ethereum, like many blockchains, makes transactions visible by default – meaning that anyone who would want to shield their financial history from employers, lovers or the world would have cause to “mix” their funds.

The U.S. government claims the platform was used to launder more than $7 billion worth of crypto since it launched in 2019.

But analytics company Elliptic has only identified $1.5 billion worth of crypto filtered through Tornado tied to illicit acts like ransomware or hacks.

Moreover, the $7 billion figure the U.S. Treasury cited likely represents the total value of crypto sent through the vortex. (This is hardly scientific, but Etherscan creates word-clouds of names and labels associated with blockchain addresses and the one for Tornado Cash does say “phish/hack” but also “charity,” “maker vault owner” and something called “dragonereum tokenized asset” – which seems like a pretty neat visualization of a “general purpose technology.” You may not like everything about crypto, or understand it, but not all of it is nefarious.)

“If you were trying to disguise funds on Ethereum, now you have no real viable option,” Dublin University professor Paul Dylan-Ennis told CoinDesk. That sentiment was echoed by Gabagool.ETH, a prominent crypto degen and member of Info Token DAO.

“Tornado Cash was important not just because it worked (in theory) but because it was trusted, keys burned,” Gabagool told CoinDesk.

Gabagool is referring to the destruction of the cryptographic keys needed to kick-start privacy-protecting applications, including messaging tools like PGP or blockchains like Monero.

This procedure, sometimes called “key shredding,” ensures that no one has access to the cryptographic keys needed to decrypt anonymized messages or transactions.

Because it typically happens at the early stages of a project, sometimes before there are any users, you often simply have to have faith that this was done and that there are no “backdoors” for bypassing the encryption.

Shredding is so essential to the long-term viability of a project that it can take on a ceremonial aspect – like during the multi-day founding of privacy-oriented blockchain Zcash.

So, just because an alternate Tornado is running the same code doesn’t mean you can trust it. This would be all the more complicated considering there will likely be many Tornadoes that spring up, causing some market confusion.

Further, because Tornado Cash operated by tumbling transactions, the liquidity of the program had a direct bearing on whether it could successfully scramble the blockchain.

If there were multiple Tornados, and no one could agree which was the “safe” one to use, they would all be less effective.

Or in Gabagool’s words, it’s likely people will redeploy the code, “but it’s not a true solve.” It’s also worth noting that because the project’s documentation was taken down from GitHub, the popular hosting service for open-source code, it would likely be difficult to retrieve.

Then there are the legal questions.

“It’s really unclear what positions OFAC will take under their incredibly broad and vague authority,” Gabriel Shapiro, a prominent crypto lawyer, said in a direct message.

“There is a reasonable argument that interacting with a new Tornado deployment is not covered by the sanction, but I wouldn’t risk it,”

It seems likely that if you redeploy Tornado Cash you are taking on legal risk. And though the sanction document’s language is ambiguous regarding a possible redeployment, Coin Center’s Neeraj Agrawal said users probably would not be liable if they were to use an alternative Tornado.

“OFAC sanctioned a particular ‘service’ at particular addresses,” he said.

Tornado Cash Ban May Not Stop Bad Actors But Could Put A Dent In Their Efforts, Former DEA Agent Says

William Callahan joined CoinDesk TV’s “First Mover” to discuss the Treasury Department’s sanctioning of the mixing service.

The U.S. Treasury Department’s sanctioning of mixing service Tornado Cash sounds the alarm that the U.S. is taking mixers seriously, according to retired Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agent William Callahan.

Callahan, who now works as the director of government and strategic affairs at software company Blockchain Intelligence Group, told CoinDesk TV that while the ban may not completely stop cryptocurrency money laundering, it sends a bigger message and at least “will put a great dent into their operations.”

On Monday, the mixer was added to the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list for allegedly aiding and abetting the laundering of more than $7 billion worth of cryptocurrencies.

In a statement, the Treasury Department said the mixer was used by North Korean hacking group Lazarus Group to steal $455 million through several exploits, including $7.8 million laundered via Nomad’s crypto bridge last week.

Under the department’s new designation, all Americans are banned from being able to send or receive money on the platform and could face criminal penalties for violating the rules.

Callahan suggested the move, though harsh, represents a new regime for U.S. regulators who combat financial crime. Armed with new analytics tools, law enforcement agencies are better able to track bad actors and beat them at their own game, he said.

The ban, however, could be hard for officials to completely implement, Callahan said.

“The bad guys have an advantage over law enforcement,” he said, including “money to come up with different techniques” to evade surveillance systems.

Tornado Cash, which is built on the Ethereum blockchain, lets users accept token deposits from one address and make withdrawals using a different address.

Effectively, it means the platform mixes coins, making it harder to track which transactions are being used for criminal activity.

The non-custodial mixer, like crypto, is built around pseudo-anonymity, which poses concerns for officials, too. And because the platform is open source, the question of whether the code will be duplicated at different Ethereum addresses remains unclear.

Callahan emphasized that the mixer is a “threat to national security.” And while it may not be the first time U.S. officials implement such measures to “affect financial flow,” it may be a period for platforms to slow down and review their current transaction processes.

As many others have, Callahan noted the sweeping ban affects users of the platform who rely on the protocol for legitimate reasons.

That includes people around the world under autocratic regimes, or everyday crypto users who choose not to reveal their transaction history.

Elliptic, a blockchain analytics company, found that only $1.5 billion in crypto tied to illicit acts moved through the platform – not the $7 billion figure the U.S. government cited.

Callahan acknowledges that while there are places around the world where users need privacy, in the U.S. at the present moment, “the government has a responsibility to take action when they see that this could pose threats to national security.”

 

Updated: 8-12-2022

Tornado Cash DAO Goes Down Without Explanation Following Vote On Treasury Funds

Github, Circle, dYdX, Alchemy, and Infura… All platforms have taken action against Tornado Cash or individuals connected to the mixer following U.S. sanctions.

The Tornado Cash DAO went offline after many social media users reported the community discussing ways to challenge sanctions recently imposed by the United States Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control.

At the time of publication, the Tornado Cash DAO was offline reportedly following a discussion in which community members voted unanimously to add its governance layer as a signatory to its treasury’s multisig wallet, which manages a reported $21.6 million.

It’s unclear what was responsible for the decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) going dark, but it followed a series of actions taken by different authorities and private entities in the wake of U.S. sanctions announced against the controversial mixer on Monday.

In the last four days, Circle froze more than 75,000 USD Coin (USDC) worth of funds on addresses listed by Treasury officials, dYdX said it had blocked some users’ accounts with funds linked to Tornado Cash, and Alchemy and Infura.io blocked remote procedure call requests to the crypto mixer.

On Friday, authorities responsible for policing financial crimes in the Netherlands also announced the arrest of a developer allegedly involved in money laundering through Tornado Cash.

Actions by centralized firms extended beyond those against transactions with the crypto mixer, and into communications platforms.

On Monday, Tornado Cash co-founder Roman Semenov reported developer platform GitHub had suspended his account, and Discord users said the channel for the mixer also went dark on Friday. At the time of publication, Tornado Cash’s Telegram group was still active.

It’s unclear why seemingly neutral channels including Discord would be taken down in response to U.S. sanctions.

However, according to a joint statement from the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council and Office of Foreign Asset Control, prohibited transactions based on Tornado Cash’s inclusion to its Specially Designated National list could be interpreted to include “downloading a software patch from a sanctioned entity.”

Penalties for failure to comply with sanctions could include hefty fines and prison time.

“For the first time ever, the U.S. government has criminalized interacting with software,” said Omid Malekan, an adjunct professor at Columbia Business school who also teaches about cryptocurrency and blockchain, in a statement to Cointelegraph.

“This is a big departure from their traditional decrees of sanctioning people, companies and governments.

There is evidence the project in question has indeed been used by criminals/hackers to obfuscate their funds, but there are also many legitimate uses.”

Before the sanctions were imposed, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin said that he used Tornado Cash to donate funds to Ukraine, aiming for the financial privacy of the recipients in the middle of a war-torn country.

On Tuesday, an anonymous individual also used the crypto mixer to send Ether (ETH) to many celebrities in a seeming attempt to challenge the gravity of the sanctions.

 

Updated: 8-15-2022

Coin Center May Challenge US Treasury’s Sanctions On Tornado Cash In Court

“By treating autonomous code as a ‘person’ OFAC exceeds its statutory authority,” said Coin Center’s Jerry Brito and Peter Van Valkenburgh.

United States-based crypto policy advocacy group Coin Center said it intended to “pursue administrative relief” for individuals affected by Tornado Cash sanctions imposed by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control, or OFAC.

In a Monday blog post, Coin Center executive director Jerry Brito and director of research Peter Van Valkenburgh alleged OFAC “overstepped its legal authority” when it named cryptocurrency mixer Tornado Cash and 44 associated wallet addresses to its list of Specially Designated Nationals, or SDNs, on Aug. 8.

The directors claimed Treasury’s actions could have potentially violated U.S. residents’ “constitutional rights to due process and free speech” and they were exploring bringing the matter to court.

“By treating autonomous code as a ‘person’ OFAC exceeds its statutory authority,” said Brito and Van Valkenburgh.

According to the pair, Coin Center will first engage with OFAC to discuss the situation in addition to briefing members of Congress. The advocacy group will then help individuals with funds trapped on any of the 44 USD Coin (USDC) and Ether (ETH) addresses connected to Tornado Cash by applying for a license to withdraw their tokens.

Following these actions, the organization will begin exploring challenging the sanctions in court.

Brito and Van Valkenburgh claimed that unlike OFAC’s sanctions against cryptocurrency mixer Blender.io in May — “an entity that is ultimately under the control of certain individuals” that better fit the definition of SDNs — “it can’t be said that Tornado Cash is a person subject to sanctions.” According to the Coin Center executives, this was due to the ETH addresses for the mixer smart contract.

“The Tornado Cash Entity, which presumably deployed the Tornado Cash Application, has zero control over the Application today,” said Brito and Van Valkenburgh. “Unlike Blender, the Tornado Cash Entity can’t choose whether the Tornado Cash Application engages in mixing or not, and it can’t choose which ‘customers’ to take and which to reject.”

They added:

“While typical OFAC actions merely limit expressive conduct (e.g. donating money to a particular Islamic charity), this action sends a signal — indeed seems to have been intended to send a signal — that a certain class of tools and software should not be used by Americans even for entirely legitimate purposes.

Even if this listing is truly and exclusively aimed at stopping North Korean hackers from using Tornado Cash, and even if the chilling effect on the use of the tool by Americans for legitimate reasons was acceptable to OFAC in a collateral impact analysis, it may not be sufficient to a court.”

Following the announcement of the sanctions against Tornado Cash, individuals associated with the controversial mixer reported being cut off from some centralized platforms amid the controversy.

Tornado Cash co-founder Roman Semenov reported developer platform GitHub had suspended his account on Monday, and users of the mixer’s decentralized autonomous organization and Discord channel said the two media also went dark.

In June, Coin Center took the U.S. Treasury to federal court, alleging the government department provisioned an unconstitutional amendment in the infrastructure bill signed into law by President Joe Biden in November 2021.

The group claimed that a provision in the law was aimed at gathering information about individuals engaged in crypto transactions.

Tornado Cash Community Fund Multisignature Wallet Disbands Amid Sanctions

The peer-elected signatories for Tornado Cash’s community fund have left the management of the wallet to the DAO.

Following the United States sanctioning USD Coin (USDC) and Ethereum addresses associated with the crypto mixer Tornado Cash, the signatories of the projects’ multisignature community fund havedisbanded.

In 2021, the Tornado Cash community created a fund to provide incentives to key contributors to the project. The fund was held in a community-managed multisignature wallet with five peer-elected members validating transactions who were selected because of their contributions to the project.

However, given that interacting with Tornado Cash now comes with more risks — including penalties for U.S. citizens ranging from fines of up to $10 million to prison time of up to 30 years — the community members in charge of the fund have vacated their posts and handed control to the project’s decentralized autonomous organization (DAO).

On Aug. 12, the signatories started to relinquish their ability to manage the fund. And on Aug. 14, all five members of the multisignature wallet completely removed their access, leaving only the governance wallet as the fund’s sole owner.

Community members were surprised to see the development and weighed in on the issue of the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioning code. One Twitter user stated that unless something changes, everything and everyone tied to the project could be considered a collaborator.

On the other hand, another community member opined that this might be a way to actualize the DAO fully and argued that it’s time for tokenholders to assume responsibility.

Meanwhile, as worries surrounding Tornado Cash pile on, an anonymous user decided to use the opportunity to send Tornado Cash-derived Ether (ETH) to prominent personalities like Jimmy Fallon, Shaquille O’Neal, Dave Chappelle and others.

The sender is likely trying to prank law enforcement, directing their attention to the recipients. However, the simple act of receiving the cryptocurrency may not be grounds for criminal proceedings, as a valid case requires “wilful” engagement with Tornado Cash.

Kevin O’Leary Says Sacrificing Tornado Cash Worth It For Institutional Adoption

Mr. Wonderful thinks that crypto needs more regulation and less “crypto cowboys” like Tornado Cash creator Alexey Pertsev, who he suggested was a necessary sacrifice to create stability for institutional inflows.

Clamping down on crypto applications that “mess with the primal forces of regulation” is necessary, says Shark Tank host and millionaire venture capitalist Kevin O’Leary, who argued that Tornado Cash and similar services are preventing real institutional capital from coming into the space.

In a discussion on Crypto Banter on Saturday, O’Leary, also known as Mr. Wonderful, suggested that applications like Ethereum-based crypto mixer Tornado Cash are a part of a “crypto cowboy” culture that shouldn’t have a place in the industry.

Instead, O’Leary is of the view that crypto needs a “rules-based environment” in order to attract real institutional capital into the digital-asset industry, and much of that regulation needs to stamp out protocols like Tornado Cash, which enables users to conduct anonymous transactions and therefore potentially engage in criminal activity.

In the discussion, O’Leary didn’t back down on his opinion regarding the arrest of the Tornado Cash creator Alexey Pertsev, stating:

“At the end of the day, it’s okay to arrest that guy. Why? He’s messing with the primal forces of regulation […] If we have to sacrifice him, that’s okay, because we want to have some stability in that institutional capital.”

The venture capitalist said that while institutional interest in the digital-assets sector continues to increase, “they’re not going to touch it while crypto cowboys are riding the fence.” O’Leary emphasized that “until we get rid of this crap,” there will be no “stability in […] institutional capital,” but he believes that the industry is slowly but surely weeding out the “cowboys:”

“I think we’re getting to that stage now. Maybe we’re in the third or fourth inning towards that, but I’m tired of this crypto cowboy crap. I want to get involved in a regulated place where we can bring billions of dollars to work. I don’t need to be a crypto cowboy, and I don’t want to be one because I work in the regulated world.”

But, O’Leary’s opinion flies in the face of the sentiment of many in the space. The United States government’s sanctioning of the Ethereum-based privacy tool last week enraged many influential crypto figures who defended the need for basic privacy rights on decentralized networks.

Gnosis co-founder Stefan George was one of those who defended Tornado Cash, stating that the protocol brings “much-needed privacy” to Ethereum and that writing open-source software should be recognized as “an expression of free speech.”

Chainlink Lead Developer Advocate Patrick Collins also said that the decision to remove Tornado Cash’s GitHub account is “much worse than sanctioning a website,” as code is speech and, by doing so, the U.S. Treasury is violating the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Ethereum educator Anthony Sassano shared in a Tweet to his 218,000 followers that he was temporarily banned from decentralized finance (DeFi) lending protocol Aave after his address was blacklisted for recieving 0.1 Ether (ETH) from an anonymous person via Tornado Cash.

Sassano went on to note that the “main conclusion I have come to from recent events is that Ethereum is more of a concern to governments/nation states than Bitcoin.”

Last week, Dutch financial crime authority the Fiscal Information and Investigation Service (FIOD), arrested a 29-year-old Tornado Cash developer who was suspected to be involved in money laundering via the protocol.

According to a Dutch regulatory body, over $7 billion have flowed through Tornado Cash’s smart contracts since its inception in 2019. The sanctions from the U.S. Treasury came after more claims that the protocol had increasingly been used for money laundering activities.

 

Updated: 8-16-2022

Kraken CEO Scorns ‘Unconstitutional’ US Shutdown of Tornado Cash

* Exchange CEO Says ‘People Have A Right To Financial Privacy’
* Powell Declines To Comment On Possible Us Probe Of Kraken

US Treasury Department actions to shut the Tornado Cash crypto-mixing service may be “unconstitutional,” according to Jesse Powell, chief executive officer of the digital-asset exchange Kraken.

“People have a right to financial privacy,” Powell said during an interview with Bloomberg TV on Tuesday. “We’ll see if it survives a challenge” in court.

On Aug. 8, Treasury Department sanctioned Tornado Cash because of its use by criminals and the likes of North Korea to launder cryptocurrency.

Mixers like Tornado cash can be used to obfuscate sources of coins by mixing different users’ tokens together. But while used by criminals, such services are also being used by some privacy-seeking, law-abiding consumers.

“The code repositories were taken down, a step I think was not necessary,” Powell said. “This is mostly a knee jerk, recently to what happened to UST and Luna.” Terra blockchain’s UST and Luna tokens collapsed in May, causing billions of dollars in losses.

Crypto industry advocacy Coin Center has said it is exploring challenging the government’s action in court. USDC stablecoin issuer Circle Internet Financial, which blocked Tornado Cash addresses, at the same time called banning Tornado akin to banning email because some bad actors had used it.

“Having a digital currency that’s so controlled and able to be controlled by maybe unconstitutional government action is a little bit scary, too,” Powell said about Circle’s action. Kraken blocked Tornado-related accounts as well, he said.

Powell declined to comment on a New York Times report that said Kraken is under US investigation for suspected violations of Iran sanctions.

Tornado Cash US Ban Is ‘Bad Precedent,’ But Monero Was ‘Made For This’: Cake Wallet Exec

Justin Ehrenhofer, vice president of operations at Cake Wallet, joined CoinDesk TV’s “First Mover,” to discuss the implications of government regulation when it comes to privacy coins.

The future of privacy tools has been threatened as a result of the U.S. sanctioning coin mixer Tornado Cash, according to one executive at a leading Monero-focused crypto wallet software company.

Justin Ehrenhofer, vice president of operations of Nevis-based Cake Wallet, told CoinDesk TV on Monday the sanction is a “step backwards” for open-source tools.

“I feel uneasy with the recent actions,” Ehrenhofer said on CoinDesk TV’s “First Mover” show. “I don’t like them at all.”

Ehrenhofer’s comments come after the sanctioning of Tornado Cash by the U.S. Treasury Department. Blocking all U.S. persons from using the crypto mixing service has created concerns about privacy when transferring coins between blockchains.

“I think it’s the wrong idea to try and sanction open-source tools,” Ehrenhofer said.

The executive at the hot wallet-based open-source project said users in the Monero community fear the possibility the U.S. government could shut down their project, too.

“It’s definitely a valid concern,” he said.

Monero (XMR) is a digital currency that lets users make and receive transactions anonymously. Its decentralized protocol is used by many to maintain their privacy in transactions. “It’s meant to be censorship resistant,” Ehrenhofer said.

He criticized government attempts to go “after the entire network” rather than sanctioning individual smart contract addresses.

In Tornado Cash’s case, all U.S.-based users were banned from interacting with the coin mixer or any of the Ethereum wallet addresses tied to its protocol.

Ehrenhofer said the government will need to respond in “a way that allows individuals to retain their right to transact.”

And while it still remains unclear what Tornado Cash’s ban could mean for other privacy tools in future, it does create “a bad precedent,” Ehrenhofer claimed.

“It’s hard to develop mass surveillance on the blockchain,” he said, referring to the potential government sanctions of privacy tools in the future.

Meanwhile, upgrades continue for the Monero system, whose privacy coin is currently valued at nearly $3 billion. Over the weekend, the Monero protocol created a hard fork that includes a number of upgrades intended to preserve user privacy.

Upgrades include an increase in ring signatures from 11 to 16. The revamp is intended to increase the number of signers per transaction.

In addition, the protocol has undergone an upgrade to its “Bulletproof” algorithm, which will improve the size of transactions in an effort to make them “more private and more efficient.”

Tornado Cash Sanctions Are Spiraling Into Compliance Nightmares

The crypto mixer’s sanctions issue raises many questions.

Crypto privacy mixer Tornado Cash drew attention last week after the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned the service. The implications of complying with the sanctions are starting to sink in with the rest of the industry, raising questions about just what compliance looks like.

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Tornado.eth

The Narrative

Last week, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) sanctioned Tornado Cash and 40-something Ethereum and USDC wallets associated with the privacy mixer.

I wrote about that last week, but there’s so much going on with this story that it’s worth spending more time on it.

Why It Matters

We’re still grappling with the fallout from the Tornado Cash sanctions. Now that the initial shock has worn off, the crypto world is starting to examine just what the real impact looks like.

People are losing – and then regaining – the ability to interact with decentralized-finance (DeFi) project front-ends based on whether they interacted with Tornado at some point in the past. Others are wondering about their locked-up funds they can no longer touch.

Breaking It Down

I was browsing Reddit over the weekend when I came across two threads: One on r/buttcoin poking fun at Aave’s official front-end blocking addresses and one on r/ethereum from a user saying he created a “mirror” user interface to bypass this.

Meanwhile, there’s a full-blown debate on Twitter about what exactly a company’s obligation is. Should front-ends block any and all addresses that may have ever interacted with a Tornado Cash address?

Or should they be more specific, blocking only transactions that can be directly tied to sanctioned addresses?

And while we know that the Tornado Cash and its developers’ GitHub accounts were suspended and at least one developer was arrested, are the sanctions having any effect on Tornado Cash itself?

Let’s answer that last question first. I was curious about what the effect the sanctions had on the mixer’s usage, and so I asked the good folks over at Nansen.ai.

Between July 31 and Aug. 6 (i.e. pre-sanction), Tornado’s users sent about 26,000 ETH into the mixer and took about 25,000 ETH out, according to data from Nansen.

Between Aug. 7 and Aug. 13, users sent in about 11,000 ETH (so this figure went down week-over-week) and sent out … 49,852 ETH. Tornado was sanctioned on Aug. 8, meaning the week-over-week figure nearly doubled.

And it’s not that Aug. 7 (the night before the sanctions were announced) was particularly busy: According to Nansen, the inflow amounted to 2,738 ETH, and the outflow was about 1,400 ETH, so not a lot (relatively speaking). The outflow on Aug. 8 was 13,800, a full order of magnitude greater than the day before.

It only gets stranger. Between Sunday and 20:00 UTC on Monday, the outflow topped 15,000 ETH. A single (new) wallet alone accounted for around 9,500 ETH, with someone withdrawing about 100 ETH at a time in a series of transactions spanning about six hours on Monday.

And again, this is happening while DeFi front-ends are blocking addresses, although several loosened some of the blocks later on.

This kind of goes to the heart of what’s happening in this whole ecosystem. The argument is that Tornado Cash is a protocol whose developers cannot control and which is able to operate autonomously.

While U.S.-based entities, or entities doing business in the U.S., can and should make every effort to avoid engaging with Tornado Cash addresses, it doesn’t seem like anyone can easily force everyone to stop engaging with Tornado Cash right now.

By the same token, those who really cannot access Tornado Cash include people in the U.S. who used Tornado prior to last week for legitimate purposes. Their funds are stuck, possibly forever, unless the Treasury allows them to make withdrawals.

Innocent Parties

Miller Whitehouse-Levine, policy director of the DeFi Education Fund, said he intends to ask the Treasury Department to issue some frequently asked questions that address these issues, as well as create a general license that would allow innocent parties who have used Tornado Cash to withdraw their funds.

“People want to be safe rather than sorry, and it’s incumbent on Treasury to explain what people need to do to make sure they’re safe,” he said.

“AML/CFT obligations are risk-based,” he added, referring to anti-money laundering and combating the finance of terrorism.

Last week’s “dusting attacks” perhaps highlight the importance of clarity here. I mentioned this last week (and helped write CoinDesk’s article on it), but if you missed it:

“An anonymous user sent a slew of Tornado Cash transactions to high-profile Ethereum addresses on Tuesday in what appears to be a troll implicating them in a potential regulatory mess.”

Whitehouse-Levine pointed out that the owners of these wallets are obligated to report those transactions to the OFAC within 10 days, and we still don’t know how OFAC will respond – my educated guess is Treasury won’t care too much about the recipients, though the senders are another matter entirely.

Coin Center’s Jerry Brito and Peter Van Valkenburgh said in a blog post that Americans could try to challenge the action if a general license isn’t issued. One concern is that Americans’ property was frozen unilaterally and without due process.

The fact that Tornado Cash is a protocol and not an entity like Blender.io or a person raises other complications.

On Twitter, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a digital rights and privacy organization, said it was “concerned” about the move, pointing to Tornado being an open-source software project.

Coin Center, a crypto think tank, went a step further, saying it may file a legal challenge.

“By conflating the Tornado Cash Entity and the Tornado Cash Application and adding both to the SDN List, the government has essentially accomplished a ban on Americans using a particular internet tool without any clear prospect that the restriction will ever be lifted,” Van Valkenburgh and Brito wrote. The SDN List is the “specially designated nationals and blocked persons” list, a determination made by the Treasury.

 

Updated: 8-18-2020

US Treasury’s Tornado Cash Sanctions Are ‘Unprecedented,’ Warns Congressman

With just 28 legislative days left this year, “it’s unlikely that any crypto legislation is going to move,” Rep. Tom Emmer.

The U.S. Treasury Department’s sanctioning of the Tornado Cash cryptocurrency mixer was an unprecedented move threatening privacy and innovation, according to one U.S. member of Congress. And he thinks Congress should start asking questions.

On CoinDesk TV’s “First Mover” program Thursday, Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) lays out his concerns with the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) latest moves.

“I didn’t want to make it sound like I’m totally opposed to OFAC looking at this,” said Emmer. “My problem is that this software is controlled by code, not by any person or entity. So if you think about it, the sanctioning of Tornado Cash is an unprecedented shift in the Office of Foreign Asset Control in their sanctioning policy.”

“Their primary priority is protecting the United States national security,” he added. “So I think our role – Congress – can be most effective in inquiring with OFAC to find out if they believe the sanction addresses are controlled by people, not code, and what this means for privacy rights and innovation.”

The ban on Tornado Cash is driving internal debate on Capitol Hill regarding what regulatory agency should be responsible for oversight of cryptocurrencies, according to Rep. Emmer. He said government agencies now are “not doing the job they were assigned to do.”

When it comes to digital assets, it should be the job of Congress to define “what qualifies or fits the definition of cash, commodity and or a security,” and which agency should be responsible for regulating each, said Emmer.

The coin mixer’s sanction sent shockwaves across the industry, and reignited concerns about privacy and the use of open-source tools.

Congress now needs to get its “act together,” according to Emmer.

Emmer used the broadcast to once again slam the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for what he considers overreaching its authority.

He said the SEC is not “staying within their lane,” using its position as more of a “shakedown authority.” Emmer pointed to requests for information and subpoenas the agency has sent to crypto companies, including companies who believe they do not fall under the agency’s purview.

With only 28 legislative days left this year, “it’s unlikely that any crypto legislation is going to move,” Rep. Emmer said, referring to bills clarifying which U.S. regulatory agency should oversee the cryptocurrency market.

However, it’s “highly likely” next year the crypto community could finally get some sort of regulatory clarity, “so we hold not only regulators accountable, but they know what their lane is.”

Updated: 8-19-2022

#FreeAlexPertsev: Protests Planned For Amsterdam Following Tornado Cash Developer’s Arrest

Last week’s arrest sparked a public outcry. With a protest on Saturday, a petition seeking his release and legal funds being crowdsourced, the question remains: Should developers be prosecuted when their code is used for illicit activity?

A week after the arrest of Tornado Cash software developer Alex Pertsev in the Netherlands, the outpouring of dissent from the international crypto community is about to take to the streets.

Pertsev’s wife, Xenia Malik, is encouraging supporters to demonstrate in Amsterdam’s historic Dam Square Saturday. She hopes the protest will bring publicity to the nature of Pertsev’s arrest.

“The accusations against Alex threaten to greatly harm the entire segment of open-source software,” Malik said in an email. “This is a major issue as it can affect every open-source developer and many other people in future.”

Pertsev, a 29-year old involved in developing the crypto-mixer service Tornado Cash was arrested Aug. 12 by Dutch authorities on suspicion of fraud, environmental crime and asset seizure.

Days earlier, the U.S. government barred Americans from using Tornado Cash, citing North Korean hackers’ use of the tool to launder stolen cryptocurrency.

While crypto mixers aren’t illegal, they provide anonymity in making transactions, which bad actors have used to launder funds gained illicitly. That raises the question of whether the developers behind these projects merit prosecution.

Opponents to the arrest are already mobilizing.

On Wednesday, Finnish product manager Daria Mironova created a Change.org petition to raise awareness around the reasons for the arrest.

“Open-source software is flexible and secure, as it can be audited, fixed and improved by anyone,” the petition says. “But a developer has no control whatsoever over how their open-source code is subsequently used.”

Mironova told CoinDesk that she was “really shocked” by the arrest and wants to help free Pertsev.

“If we don’t react now, in the future, we might see many cases where innocent developers go to prison when someone misuses their code,” she said, calling her effort a fight for free speech.

On Friday afternoon, there were 1,015 signatures. Once the petition amasses 40,000 signatures, Mironova plans to bring them to the authorities, making them aware of the public dissent.

Staging A Protest

People are planning the protest in a Telegram group chat called #FreeAlex, sharing their demonstration strategy, expressing their hopes for Pertsev’s release and discussing legal protection of open-source developers.

In addition, Petr Korolev, co-founder of Blockchain audit company Oxorio, has set up a Gitcoin fund towards Pertsev’s release. Still pending approval, it will crowdsource crypto donations in Polygon and zSync.

But while protests, signatures and funds may bring attention to Pertsev’s situation, the greater question as to the freedom of open-source developers remains.

The discussion of how to protect developers’ rights predates Pertsev’s arrest. In January, former Twitter founder and Block (SQ) CEO Jack Dorsey proposed a non-profit legal defense fund for Bitcoin developers, protecting them from lawsuits surrounding their work on the blockchain.

While Malik believes her husband’s case could set a harmful precedent for future open-source developers, for now she just wants him freed.

“The main goal [of the protest] is to attract the attention of the Dutch authorities and show that people care. And, of course, I hope for the speedy release of my husband from prison,” she said.

FTX Blocks Aztec Network Privacy DApp, Calling It A ‘High Risk’ Mixer

Some users took to Twitter to bemoan what some are calling a continuing attack on privacy in the wake of the U.S. Treasury Dept.’s action against Tornado Cash.

FTX has reportedly begun blocking accounts that have sent coins through zk.money, a private layer-2 chain provided by the Aztec Network on Ethereum. According to Twitter users, FTX has identified the DApp as a mixer — a service it deems a “high-risk activity” prohibited by the exchange.

Reports of blocked transactions on FTX began appearing on Twitter on Thursday, sometimes with commentary about FTX’s motives and allegations that zk.money is not a mixer.

Twitter users also noted that blocking transactions connected to the protocol may imply a ban with far-reaching effects, similar to the sanctions imposed by the United States Treasury Department on Tornado Cash users. The U.S. agency placed over 40 USDC and ETH addresses on the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) List of Specially Designated Nationals on Aug. 8.

Aztec Network CEO Zac Williamson took to Twitter with a long thread on Monday commenting on the situation surrounding Tornado Cash, days prior to FTX’s apparent action against the network.

“There is a place for regulation in Web3. It is not at the network level. It is at the application level,” Williamson wrote, adding:

“The depressing thing is that we’ve been through this already with the World Wide Web. We don’t arrest internet service providers for the data in their cables. We don’t arrest DNS providers for signing illegal traffic.”

Zk.money was launched in March 2021. It describes itself as the “private DeFi yield aggregator” of the Aztec Network’s Aztec Connect software development kit. Aztec Connect, in turn, “works like a VPN: by using Aztec’s rollup contract as a proxy.” On Thursday, the Aztec Network announced that Aztec Connect was prepping to receive funding from DEX Balancer Labs.

 

Updated: 8-21-2020

Tornado Cash Developer’s Arrest In The Netherlands Draws Community Protest

After the detention of Alexey Pertsev, campaigners worry holding developers accountable for malicious use of their code could have a dangerous, chilling effect.

More than 50 people gathered in Amsterdam’s Dam Square on Saturday to protest the arrest of blockchain developer Alexey Pertsev, who was arrested Aug. 10 on suspicion of involvement in the Tornado Cash protocol that was sanctioned earlier this month by U.S. authorities.

The 29-year-old was held just two days after the U.S Treasury Dept. froze Tornado, a virtual-currency mixer it said was used by North Korean hackers. After an Aug. 12 closed-door hearing, an examining judge agreed to keep him in custody for two weeks.

A press release issued by Dutch financial crime authority FIOD said the arrest was on suspicion of “involvement in concealing criminal financial flows and facilitating money laundering” through the service, which can obfuscate the source and destination of funds that pass through it.

While the system can be used to bury criminal proceedings, it also has legitimate applications. Dutch authorities have not stated just which laws Pertsev allegedly broke. Different press releases and statements have offered different explanations.

Pertsev himself has yet to be charged with any wrongdoing, so the demonstrators were reluctant to comment on legal issues.

Many, however, worry about what Pertsev’s arrest means for the future of Web3 and are conscious of a chilling effect on the Netherlands’ blockchain ecosystem.

The protestors, who included Pertsev’s wife Xenia Malik, waved placards demanding his release and chanted “open source [code] is not a crime.”

“It’s a case where the fundamental principle of crypto is being questioned,” Roman Buzko of law firm Buzko Krasnov told CoinDesk at the demonstration. The case concerns “whether code is an expression of free speech. In my view, it is.”

In the U.S., code is deemed protected under the First Amendment to the country’s constitution, but that’s a notion still being tested in Europe.

The protestors, who included Pertsev’s wife Xenia Malik, waved placards demanding his release and chanted “open source [code] is not a crime.”

FIOD also said that those behind decentralized autonomous organizations (DAO), the loose structures that govern many Web3 projects, “have made large-scale profits” from criminal flows, though it is not clear if they consider Pertsev to have been involved.

The arrest “goes against everything I’ve been working on for the last couple of years,” protestor Eléonore Blanc said. “This is creating a chilling effect that goes against innovation, that goes against the community.”

The FIOD statement is “more FUD, more fear, uncertainty and doubt, coming from Dutch regulators and from Dutch institutions. It’s not good,” she said. Blanc is the founder of cryptocanal.org, a Web3 events and consultancy company. “Let’s stay competitive, let’s have clear laws … this creates uncertainty.”

Others say authorities should really be focused on holding accountable those responsible for debacles such as the recent crash of terraUSD.

“Alex is just a developer. They should be going after the true criminals,” said protestor and Web3 developer Naomi Schettini. Pertsev is “not responsible for criminals using his code for doing illicit activity.

That’s like saying the inventor of the knife is responsible for murders. It’s truly ridiculous.”

The arrest could have implications for those in other areas of web development, said Rodrigo Zapata, a project manager in a blockchain-based biodiversity company.

It is “the equivalent to put someone in jail that codes Linux because some hackers somewhere in some country are using it for hacking some government systems,” Zapata told CoinDesk. “It’s just ridiculous and out of proportion.”

Laws, he said, need to be updated for the open-source era. “Public authorities are overstepping what is supposed to be done by the legislators, and not by executive power.”

Whether the authorities will take notice is a different matter. While the gathering was one of the larger groups in the square wedged between the Royal Palace and Wax Museum in the heart of the capital, the #FreeAlex protestors jostled with Evangelical Christians, Satanists and performance artists dressed as Death and Jack Sparrow.

Among the other signs seeking attention: “Boycott Israel,” “Hands off Cuba,” “Jesus was Black,” “Stop organ harvesting from Falun Gong” and “Democracy is back in Bolivia.”

Both FIOD and and the Dutch public prosecutor declined to comment when approached by CoinDesk before the demonstration.

 

Updated: 8-23-2022

Rep. Emmer Demands An Explanation Of OFAC’s Tornado Cash Sanction From Sec. Yellen

The Minnesota Republican highlighted the practical issues that could allegedly arise from the placement of smart contract addresses on the SDN list in a series of pointed questions.

United States Congressman Tom Emmer sent a four-page letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Tuesday regarding the Treasury Department’s sanctioning of cryptocurrency mixer Tornado Cash on Aug. 8.

In his letter, Emmer posed a series of questions that seek to clarify the position of the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

Emmer said that OFAC, acting under Executive Order 13694 to place Tornado Cash on its Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN), has for the first time extended the EO’s definition of person or individual to include code.

He pointed to the distinction made by the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) between anonymizing services and anonymizing software to illustrate the issue he saw in OFAC’s action while acknowledging that OFAC is not subject to FinCEN regulations.

Emmer’s questions were of a practical nature. Noting that “Tornado Cash is a collection of several Ethereum smart contract addresses that are not controlled by a person (individual or entity),” Emmer asked what persons could be associated with those addresses and:

“Given that the Tornado Cash back-end will operate unchanged […] as long as the Ethereum network continues to operate, who or what entity did OFAC believe was reasonably responsible for imposing controls on the Tornado Cash blockchain contracts?”

Emmer went on to ask about the status of funds belonging to law-abiding Tornado Cash users and how they can reclaim those funds and how smart contracts “with no agency, corporate or personal,” can appeal the OFAC decision.

Emmer, a member of the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee and co-chair of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, is a highly visible presence in crypto legislation.

He has in recent months criticized the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC’s) policy toward crypto companies, supported crypto miners before the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and co-sponsored the new version of the Digital Commodity Exchange Act (DCEA).

He is far from alone in his dismay over the OFAC action. Coin Center has expressed the intention of challenging OFAC in court.

Updated: 8-24-2022

Tether Says It Won’t Freeze Sanctioned Tornado Cash Addresses Unless Instructed By Law Enforcement

“We are sometimes made aware of addresses potentially related to crime and are specifically instructed not to freeze the addresses without the explicit request from law enforcement,” says Tether.

On Wednesday, U.S. dollar stablecoin issuer Tether said that it would not freeze smart contract addresses sanctioned by the United States Office of Foreign Assets (OFAC) Control’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN) list for cryptocurrency trail-mixer Tornado Cash. In explaining the decision, Tether said:

”So far, OFAC has not indicated that a stablecoin issuer is expected to freeze secondary market addresses that are published on OFAC’s SDN List or that are operated by persons and entities that have been sanctioned by OFAC. Further, no U.S. law enforcement agency or regulator has made such a request despite our near-daily contact with U.S. law enforcement whose requests always provide precise details.”

“Tether pointed out that unilaterally freezing wallet or smart contract addresses could be a “highly disruptive” and “reckless” move. “It could alert suspects of an impending law enforcement investigation, cause liquidations or abandonment of funds and jeopardize further evidence gathering,” the issuer said.

All U.S. persons and entities are prohibited from interacting with the digital currency mixer’s USDC and Ethereum smart contract addresses on the SDN list, subject to stiff criminal penalties for violation.

However, Tether is a Hong Kong-based issuer and neither onboards U.S. persons as customers nor conducts business in the United States, although it voluntarily follows certain U.S. regulations as a part of compliance.

Tether also expressed reservations regarding USD Coin issuer Circle’s decision to unilaterally freeze Tornado Cash smart contract addresses earlier this month.

“If made without instructions from U.S. authorities, the move by USDC to blacklist Tornado Cash smart contracts was premature and might have jeopardized the work of other regulators and law enforcement agencies around the world,” says Tether.

The firm points out that other stablecoin issuers based in the U.S., such as Paxos and Dai, did not freeze any Tornado Cash wallets. The sanctions went into effect on Aug. 8.

Alleged Tornado Developer Pertsev Must Stay In Jail, Dutch Judge Rules

Pertsev’s arrest for involvement in the now-sanctioned crypto mixer generated consternation in the Web3 community.

Alexey Pertsev, accused of facilitating money laundering via the now-sanctioned Tornado Cash app, must stay in jail for at least a further 90 days, a judge in the Netherlands ruled Wednesday.

Pertsev, 29, was arrested Aug. 10 on the orders of the Dutch authorities, just two days after the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned the currency mixing service, which it linked to over $1 billion in illicit transactions and to North Korean hackers.

The arrest has generated consternation from the Web3 community, which has warned it could have a chilling effect on those developing open-source software, and on those who have legitimate reasons to use mixers, which keep crypto transactions private.

Pertsev, based in Amsterdam, was first brought before an examining judge on Aug. 12, who agreed he should be held in custody for an initial period of two weeks.

At a closed-door hearing in Den Bosch, the Netherlands, held Wednesday, Pertsev’s lawyers sought for him to be offered bail.

That request was rejected by the judge, but the court nonetheless set an 90-day time limit within which an initial public hearing must take place, a spokesperson for the Dutch courts told CoinDesk. Pertsev has still not been formally charged with any crime.

FIOD, the Dutch authority responsible for probing financial crime, started its probe into Tornado Cash in June, saying that the decentralized service does little to check whether funds are of criminal origin.

Campaigners have said the arrest threatens to kill open-source software, as developers would effectively be held responsible for how their code is subsequently used.

In the U.S., Congressman Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) has also questioned the action by Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control, which targets software rather than the people or entities who are more usually the target of sanctions.

Tornado Cash Seen As Key Laundering Tool For NFT Scams Before US Sanctions

* Before Ban, 52% Of Proceeds Laundered Through Mixer: Elliptic
* Reports Says Trend Illustrates Need For Sanctions Screening

Tornado Cash, a cryptocurrency mixer that was recently slapped with US sanctions, was the preferred tool for laundering illicit proceeds from nonfungible token scams prior to the ban, according to blockchain analytics firm Elliptic Enterprises.

The mixer “was the source of $137.6 million of cryptoassets processed by NFT marketplaces and the laundering tool of choice for 52% of NFT scam proceeds before being sanctioned,” the firm wrote in a report released Wednesday.

Services offered by platforms like Tornado Cash can be used to mask transactions by mixing tokens from different sources before transferring them to the ultimate recipients — making them a popular tool among illicit actors. Tornado Cash didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control sanctioned Tornado Cash earlier this month, saying the platform had been used to launder more than $7 billion worth of cryptocurrency since its creation in 2019, including hundreds of millions of dollars worth of funds stolen by North Korean hackers.

The action came after the department took similar steps against the mixer Blender.io in May.

Bankrupt cryptocurrency lender Celsius Network alleged in a lawsuit Tuesday that its former money manager, Keyfi and its founder Jason Stone, stole millions of dollars worth of Celsius assets, including by converting them into hundreds of NFTs, and using Tornado Cash to cover their tracks.

Stone sued Celsius last month, accusing the firm of fraud and cheating him out of potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in pay.

Updated: 8-26-2022

Wife of Arrested Tornado Cash Developer Denies Russia Secret Service Links

Financial-crime analysts at Kharon have connected Alexey Pertsev, who is currently in a Dutch prison awaiting trial on suspicion of facilitating money laundering via crypto protocols, to Russian espionage.

The wife of Alexey Pertsev, the web developer arrested in Amsterdam over ties to the Tornado Cash crypto mixing protocol, dismissed speculation her husband had links to the Russian secret service after allegations surfaced of his connection to a cybersecurity company blacklisted by the U.S. Treasury Department.

Xenia Malik denied claims suggested in a Thursday blog by financial-crime analysts Kharon that the developer was involved in espionage because he worked for the company, which the U.S. government had linked with the Russian secret service, the FSB.

Pertsev’s arrest on Aug. 10, just days after the U.S. agency sanctioned Tornado Cash, has caused consternation among the coder community, which worries they may be held liable for any open-source software they develop. Pertsev was arrested on the orders of the Netherlands’ FIOD, the authority responsible for financial crime.

“Alexey has never been associated with the FSB of the Russian Federation and similar organizations,” Malik told CoinDesk Friday. “We moved to the Netherlands in the hope of a quiet, stable and free life, which is unimaginable in military Russia.”

On Wednesday, judges ordered Pertsev to be held in jail for a further three months pending a trial, following FIOD allegations that he had facilitated money laundering through Tornado Cash. No formal charges have yet been levied.

In a statement published Friday, the Dutch public prosecutor referred to a “suspicion that the accused, along with others, allowed the origin, destination and ownership of more than 1 billion [euros ($1 billion)] worth of criminally obtained cryptocurrencies to be disguised” using Tornado Cash. Malik has denied those claims.

A January 2018 article on Russian business news site Vedomosti quotes Pertsev commenting on North Korean crypto scams, while a video of a presentation Pertsev apparently gave while working for Digital Security shows him standing next to a slide displaying the company logo and his official contact information.

The Dutch public prosecutor did not respond to requests for comment on the Kharon allegations.

On Aug. 8, the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) linked the protocol, which can be used to ensure the privacy of transactions on the Ethereum blockchain, to significant money laundering and North Korean hackers.

Online sources reviewed by CoinDesk appear to confirm that Pertsev previously worked for a company called Digital Security, which offers services such as penetration testing, a kind of security audit for checking how robust are a system’s cyber defenses.

The firm, also known as DSec, is said by Kharon to have been sanctioned in November 2018 by OFAC, which cited links between the company and Russian spies.

A January 2018 article on Russian business news site Vedomosti quotes Pertsev commenting on North Korean crypto scams, while a video of a presentation Pertsev apparently gave while working for Digital Security shows him standing next to a slide displaying the company logo and his official contact information.

Updated: 9-8-2022

Crypto Investors Sue Idiots In U.S. Department of Treasury Trying To Sanction A Protocol😂🤣😅 (#GotBitcoin)

The protocol has been designed to hand over ownership of privacy to cryptocurrency users so that they can decide when and with whom to share their information.

All this comes at a time when the IRS’s site amongst other government sites are hacked continually exposing millions of tax-payer’s private information!!!!

According to the Tornado Cash website, the protocol has a compliance tool that allows users to prove the source of their funds.

According to a new lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas. On Thursday, six users of the Ethereum blockchain and cryptocurrency mixer Tornado Cash sued the U.S. Department of Treasury, alleging that its recent designation of 44 Tornado Cash smart contract addresses to the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list of the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) is “not in accordance with law.”

Since Aug. 8, U.S. persons and entities have been prohibited from interacting with the sanctioned Tornado Cash smart contract addresses, blockchain or business-wise, under the threat of criminal or civil penalties for non-compliance.

The plaintiffs seek to annul the designation based on three arguments. First, they argue Tornado Cash does not meet the definition of a property, a foreign country, or a national thereof, nor a person and therefore cannot be added to the SDN list.

Second, they claim a violation of their First Amendment (freedom of speech) rights under the U.S. Constitution:

“Tornado Cash allows Plaintiffs to engage in important, socially valuable speech. However, due to the designation, plaintiffs cannot use Tornado Cash to make donations to support important, and potentially controversial, political and social causes.”

Thirdly, the plaintiffs say that because of the Treasury designation, they could not access the Ether stored in Tornado Cash pools.

They argued that such alleged lack of proper pre-deprivation process was in-violating legal procedures.

Coinbase says that the Treasury overstepped its authority in issuing the Tornado Cash sanctions.

Later that day, cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase publicly supported the lawsuit. The firm hailed the move as “defending privacy in crypto,” and pledged to fund the lawsuit.

“The sanctions exceed Treasury’s authority, harm innocent people, remove privacy and security options for crypto users, and stifle innovation,” said Coinbase. It then raised individual examples of purported benefits of Tornado Cash:

“One person used Tornado Cash to donate money to Ukraine anonymously. Afterward, his wallet received potentially malicious airdrops. But because he anonymized his crypto before donating, he avoided attacks against his personal accounts. He has funds trapped in Tornado Cash.”

“Developers are worried that they could be held responsible for something they had nothing to do with and no ability to control,” said Coinbase in an argument claiming the Treasury’s move will stifle innovation. The U.S. Department of Treasury claims that over $7 billion worth of crypto has been laundered via Tornado Cash since its inception.

Stablecoin issuers, such as Circle, have taken steps to freeze blacklisted Tornado Cash smart contract addresses due to the ban. Others, such as Tether, have refrained from such a move until they receive instructions from law enforcement.

Crypto Engineers, Investors Sue US Treasury Over Tornado Cash Sanctions

The Treasury’s sanctions watchdog, OFAC, exceeded its authority in blacklisting smart contract wallets, six plaintiffs allege in a new suit.

Six crypto users are suing the U.S. Treasury Department for blacklisting Tornado Cash last month, claiming the department’s sanctions watchdog overstepped its authority in prohibiting all American persons from interacting with the privacy tool.

According to the suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) didn’t have the legal right to designate Tornado Cash, which the suit refers to as “a decentralized, open-source software project that restores some privacy for Ethereum users,” as a sanctioned entity because it isn’t an entity, person or organization.

OFAC added Tornado Cash’s wallet addresses, including smart wallet addresses, to its Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list last month, saying the privacy mixer was a key tool for North Korean hackers, who used it to launder crypto stolen from projects like Axie Infinity.

The SDN list is made up of blacklisted individuals or companies that are owned by, or are acting on behalf of, countries targeted by OFAC.

The plaintiffs are Coinbase employees Tyler Almeida and Nate Welch, Prysmatic Labs co-founder Preston Van Loon, GridPlus engineer Kevin Vitale, Ethereum proponent and angel investor Alex Fisher and former Amazon engineer Joseph Van Loon. Crypto exchange Coinbase is funding the effort.

Each of the plaintiffs has some ether (ETH) locked in Tornado Cash that he or she used for various legal purposes – including donating to Ukraine and protecting their private wallets from being traceable to their public online identities – but can no longer access because of the OFAC’s sanctions, the suit claims.

Alongside Treasury, the plaintiffs are suing Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and OFAC Director Andrea Gacki.

The plaintiffs are claiming OFAC violated the Administrative Procedures Act, which dictates how federal agencies must develop and issue regulations, because Tornado Cash isn’t property or a foreign national or country, and therefore the sanctions watchdog exceeded its authority.

The filing also claims a violation of the plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights to “engage in important, socially valuable speech.”

Preston Van Loon, Almeida and Welch are also claiming a violation of their Fifth Amendment rights, which protect against self-incrimination, as they didn’t receive a notice or any other form of prior process before their ETH was frozen.

As a result, the plaintiffs are calling on the court to “declare that defendants’ designation is null, void, and with no force and effect; declare that defendants’ designation is not in accordance with law; … vacate the designation; permanently enjoin defendants’ and their officers, employees and agents from enforcing, implementing, applying or taking any action whatsoever under, or in reliance on, the designation,” and litigation costs.

Controversial Designation

OFAC’s designation of Tornado Cash and its smart wallet addresses has been controversial since it was announced last month.

Crypto think tank Coin Center said in a blog post that this was the first time software, rather than an individual or entity, was added to the SDN list, a point the plaintiffs jumped on.

“Historically, defendants have used their delegated authority to designate individuals, corporations and other entities on the SDN list. For instance, on February 25, 2022, OFAC added Vladimir Putin to the SDN list,” the filing said, referring to the Russian president.

“Defendants have also designated Blender.io, a virtual currency mixer … Unlike Tornado Cash, Blender.io is operated under centralized control. Also unlike Tornado Cash, users of Blender.io do not retain custody of particular crypto asset at all times and instead receive randomly ‘mixed’ crypto assets.”

Paul Grewal, Coinbase’s chief legal officer, told CoinDesk that while the exchange has “the utmost respect for Treasury and OFAC … the recent designations of the Tornado Cash smart contracts gave us serious pause.”

The Treasury Department didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

 

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Bitcoin Accounts Offer 3-12% Rates In A Low-Interest World

Analyst Says Bitcoin Price Sell-Off May Occur As Chinese New Year Approaches

Why The Crypto World Needs To Build An Amazon Of Its Own

Tor Project’s Crypto Donations Increased 23% In 2020

Social Trading Platform eToro Ended 2020 With $600M In Revenue

Bitcoin Billionaire Set To Run For California Governor

GameStop Investing Craze ‘Proof of Concept’ For Bitcoin Success

Bitcoin Entrepreneurs Install Mining Rigs In Cars. Will Trucks And Tractor Trailers Be Next?

Harvard, Yale, Brown Endowments Have Been Buying Bitcoin For At Least A Year

Bitcoin Return To $40,000 In Doubt As Flows To Key Fund Slow

Ultimate Resource For Leading Non-Profits Focused On Policy Issues Facing Cryptocurrencies

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Bitcoin Core Lead Maintainer Steps Back, Encourages Decentralization

Here Are Very Bitcoiny Ways To Get Bitcoin Exposure

To Understand Bitcoin, Just Think of It As A Faith-Based Asset

Cryptos Won’t Work As Actual Currencies, UBS Economist Says

Older Investors Are Getting Into Crypto, New Survey Finds

Access Denied: Banks Seem Prone To Cryptophobia Despite Growing Adoption

Pro Traders Buy The Dip As Bulls Address A Trifecta Of FUD News Announcements

Andreas Antonopoulos And Others Debunk Bitcoin Double-Spend FUD

New Bitcoin Investors Explain Why They’re Buying At Record Prices

When Crypto And Traditional Investors Forget Fundamentals, The Market Is Broken

First Hyperledger-based Cryptocurrency Explodes 486% Overnight On Bittrex BTC Listing

Bitcoin Steady As Analysts Say Getting Back To $40,000 Is Key

Coinbase, MEVP Invest In Crypto-Asset Startup Rain

Synthetic Dreams: Wrapped Crypto Assets Gain Traction Amid Surging Market

Secure Bitcoin Self-Custody: Balancing Safety And Ease Of Use

Voyager Crypto App Review

UBS (A Totally Corrupt And Criminal Bank) Warns Clients Crypto Prices Can Actually Go To Zero

Bitcoin Swings Undermine CFO Case For Converting Cash To Crypto

CoinLab Cuts Deal With Mt. Gox Trustee Over Bitcoin Claims

Bitcoin Slides Under $35K Despite Biden Unveiling $1.9 Trillion Stimulus

Bitcoin Refuses To ‘Die’ As BTC Price Hits $40K Just Three Days After Crash

Ex-Ripple CTO Can’t Remember Password To Access $240M In Bitcoin

Financial Advisers Are Betting On Bitcoin As A Hedge

ECB President Christine Lagarde (French Convict) Says, Bitcoin Enables “Funny Business.”

German Police Shut Down Darknet Marketplace That Traded Bitcoin

Bitcoin Miner That’s Risen 1,400% Says More Regulation Is Needed

Bitcoin Rebounds While Leaving Everyone In Dark On True Worth

UK Treasury Calls For Feedback On Approach To Cryptocurrency And Stablecoin Regulation

What Crypto Users Need Know About Changes At The SEC

Where Does This 28% Bitcoin Price Drop Rank In History? Not Even In The Top 5

Seven Times That US Regulators Stepped Into Crypto In 2020

Retail Has Arrived As Paypal Clears $242M In Crypto Sales Nearly Double The Previous Record

Bitcoin’s Slide Dents Price Momentum That Dwarfed Everything

Does Bitcoin Boom Mean ‘Better Gold’ Or Bigger Bubble?

Bitcoin Whales Are Profiting As ‘Weak Hands’ Sell BTC After Price Correction

Crypto User Recovers Long-Lost Private Keys To Access $4M In Bitcoin

The Case For And Against Investing In Bitcoin

Bitcoin’s Wild Weekends Turn Efficient Market Theory Inside Out

Mega-Bullish News For Bitcoin As Elon Musk Says, “Pay Me In Bitcoin” And Biden Says, “Ignore Budget Deficits”!

Bitcoin Price Briefly Surpasses Market Cap Of Tencent

Broker Touts Exotic Bitcoin Bet To Squeeze Income From Crypto

Broker Touts Exotic Bitcoin Bet To Squeeze Income From Crypto

Tesla’s Crypto-Friendly CEO Is Now The Richest Man In The World

Crypto Market Cap Breaks $1 Trillion Following Jaw-Dropping Rally

Gamblers Could Use Bitcoin At Slot Machines With New Patent

Crypto Users Donate $400K To Julian Assange Defense As Mexico Proposes Asylum

Grayscale Ethereum Trust Fell 22% Despite Rally In Holdings

Bitcoin’s Bulls Should Fear Its Other Scarcity Problem

Ether Follows Bitcoin To Record High Amid Dizzying Crypto Rally

Retail Investors Are Largely Uninvolved As Bitcoin Price Chases $40K

Bitcoin Breaches $34,000 As Rally Extends Into New Year

Social Media Interest In Bitcoin Hits All-Time High

Bitcoin Price Quickly Climbs To $31K, Liquidating $100M Of Shorts

How Massive Bitcoin Buyer Activity On Coinbase Propelled BTC Price Past $32K

FinCEN Wants US Citizens To Disclose Offshore Crypto Holdings of $10K+

Governments Will Start To Hodl Bitcoin In 2021

Crypto-Linked Stocks Extend Rally That Produced 400% Gains

‘Bitcoin Liquidity Crisis’ — BTC Is Becoming Harder To Buy On Exchanges, Data Shows

Bitcoin Looks To Gain Traction In Payments

BTC Market Cap Now Over Half A Trillion Dollars. Major Weekly Candle Closed!!

Elon Musk And Satoshi Nakamoto Making Millionaires At Record Pace

Binance Enables SegWit Support For Bitcoin Deposits As Adoption Grows

Santoshi Nakamoto Delivers $24.5K Christmas Gift With Another New All-Time High

Bitcoin’s Rally Has Already Outlasted 2017’s Epic Run

Gifting Crypto To Loved Ones This Holiday? Educate Them First

Scaramucci’s SkyBridge Files With SEC To Launch Bitcoin Fund

Samsung Integrates Bitcoin Wallets And Exchange Into Galaxy Phones

HTC Smartphone Will Run A Full Bitcoin Node (#GotBitcoin?)

HTC’s New 5G Router Can Host A Full Bitcoin Node

Bitcoin Miners Are Heating Homes Free of Charge

Bitcoin Miners Will Someday Be Incorporated Into Household Appliances

Musk Inquires About Moving ‘Large Transactions’ To Bitcoin

How To Invest In Bitcoin: It Can Be Easy, But Watch Out For Fees

Megan Thee Stallion Gives Away $1 Million In Bitcoin

CoinFLEX Sets Up Short-Term Lending Facility For Crypto Traders

Wall Street Quants Pounce On Crytpo Industry And Some Are Not Sure What To Make Of It

Bitcoin Shortage As Wall Street FOMO Turns BTC Whales Into ‘Plankton’

Bitcoin Tops $22,000 And Strategists Say Rally Has Further To Go

Why Bitcoin Is Overpriced by More Than 50%

Kraken Exchange Will Integrate Bitcoin’s Lightning Network In 2021

New To Bitcoin? Stay Safe And Avoid These Common Scams

Andreas M. Antonopoulos And Simon Dixon Say Don’t Buy Bitcoin!

Famous Former Bitcoin Critics Who Conceded In 2020

Jim Cramer Bought Bitcoin While ‘Off Nicely From The Top’ In $17,000S

The Wealthy Are Jumping Into Bitcoin As Stigma Around Crypto Fades

WordPress Adds Official Ethereum Ad Plugin

France Moves To Ban Anonymous Crypto Accounts To Prevent Money Laundering

10 Predictions For 2021: China, Bitcoin, Taxes, Stablecoins And More

Movie Based On Darknet Market Silk Road Premiering In February

Crypto Funds Have Seen Record Investment Inflow In Recent Weeks

US Gov Is Bitcoin’s Last Remaining Adversary, Says Messari Founder

$1,200 US Stimulus Check Is Now Worth Almost $4,000 If Invested In Bitcoin

German Bank Launches Crypto Fund Covering Portfolio Of Digital Assets

World Governments Agree On Importance Of Crypto Regulation At G-7 Meeting

Why Some Investors Get Bitcoin So Wrong, And What That Says About Its Strengths

It’s Not About Data Ownership, It’s About Data Control, EFF Director Says

‘It Will Send BTC’ — On-Chain Analyst Says Bitcoin Hodlers Are Only Getting Stronger

Bitcoin Arrives On Wall Street: S&P Dow Jones Launching Crypto Indexes In 2021

Audio Streaming Giant Spotify Is Looking Into Crypto Payments

BlackRock (Assets Under Management $7.4 Trillion) CEO: Bitcoin Has Caught Our Attention

Bitcoin Moves $500K Around The Globe Every Second, Says Samson Mow

Pomp Talks Shark Tank’s Kevin O’leary Into Buying ‘A Little More’ Bitcoin

Bitcoin Is The Tulipmania That Refuses To Die

Ultimate Resource On Ethereum 2.0

Biden Should Integrate Bitcoin Into Us Financial System, Says Niall Ferguson

Bitcoin Is Winning The Monetary Revolution

Cash Is Trash, Dump Gold, Buy Bitcoin!

Bitcoin Price Sets New Record High Above $19,783

You Call That A Record? Bitcoin’s November Gains Are 3x Stock Market’s

Bitcoin Fights Back With Power, Speed and Millions of Users

Guggenheim Fund ($295 Billion Assets Under Management) Reserves Right To Put Up To 10% In Bitcoin Trust!

Exchanges Outdo Auctions For Governments Cashing In Criminal Crypto, Says Exec

Coinbase CEO: Trump Administration May ‘Rush Out’ Burdensome Crypto Wallet Rules

Bitcoin Plunges Along With Other Coins Providing For A Major Black Friday Sale Opportunity

The Most Bullish Bitcoin Arguments For Your Thanksgiving Table

‘Bitcoin Tuesday’ To Become One Of The Largest-Ever Crypto Donation Events

World’s First 24/7 Crypto Call-In Station!!!

Bitcoin Trades Again Near Record, Driven By New Group Of Buyers

Friendliest Of Them All? These Could Be The Best Countries For Crypto

Bitcoin Price Doubles Since The Halving, With Just 3.4M Bitcoin Left For Buyers

First Company-Sponsored Bitcoin Retirement Plans Launched In US

Poker Players Are Enhancing Winnings By Cashing Out In Bitcoin

Crypto-Friendly Brooks Gets Nod To Serve 5-Year Term Leading Bank Regulator

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The Dark Future Where Payments Are Politicized And Bitcoin Wins

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Bitcoin’s Gunning For A Record And No One’s Talking About It

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US Company Now Lets Travelers Pay For Passports With Bitcoin

Billionaire Hedge Fund Investor Stanley Druckenmiller Says He Owns Bitcoin In CNBC Interview

China’s UnionPay And Korea’s Danal To Launch Crypto-Supporting Digital Card #GotBitcoin

Bitcoin Is Back Trading Near Three-Year Highs

Bitcoin Transaction Fees Rise To 28-Month High As Hashrate Drops Amid Price Rally

Market Is Proving Bitcoin Is ‘Ultimate Safe Haven’ — Anthony Pompliano

3 Reasons Why Bitcoin Price Suddenly Dropping Below $13,000 Isn’t Bearish

Bitcoin Resurgence Leaves Institutional Acceptance Unanswered

Bitcoin’s Rivalry With Gold Plus Millennial Interest Gives It ‘Considerable’ Upside Potential: JPMorgan

WordPress Content Can Now Be Timestamped On Ethereum

PayPal To Offer Crypto Payments Starting In 2021 (A-Z) (#GotBitcoin?)

As Bitcoin Approaches $13,000 It Breaks Correlation With Equities

Crypto M&A Surges Past 2019 Total As Rest of World Eclipses U.S. (#GotBitcoin?)

How HBCUs Are Prepping Black Students For Blockchain Careers

Why Every US Congressman Just Got Sent Some ‘American’ Bitcoin

CME Sounding Out Crypto Traders To Gauge Market Demand For Ether Futures, Options

Caitlin Long On Bitcoin, Blockchain And Rehypothecation (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Drops To $10,446.83 As CFTC Charges BitMex With Illegally Operating Derivatives Exchange

BitcoinACKs Lets You Track Bitcoin Development And Pay Coders For Their Work

One Of Hal Finney’s Lost Contributions To Bitcoin Core To Be ‘Resurrected’ (#GotBitcoin?)

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Memes Mean Mad Money. Those Silly Defi Memes, They’re Really Important (#GotBitcoin?)

Bennie Overton’s Story About Our Corrupt U.S. Judicial, Global Financial Monetary System And Bitcoin

Stop Fucking Around With Public Token Airdrops In The United States (#GotBitcoin?)

Mad Money’s Jim Cramer Will Invest 1% Of Net Worth In Bitcoin Says, “Gold Is Dangerous”

State-by-state Licensing For Crypto And Payments Firms In The Us Just Got Much Easier (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin (BTC) Ranks As World 6Th Largest Currency

Pomp Claims He Convinced Jim Cramer To Buy Bitcoin

Traditional Investors View Bitcoin As If It Were A Technology Stock

Mastercard Releases Platform Enabling Central Banks To Test Digital Currencies (#GotBitcoin?)

Being Black On Wall Street. Top Black Executives Speak Out About Racism (#GotBitcoin?)

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Right-Winger Tucker Carlson Causes Grayscale Investments To Pull Bitcoin Ads

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Cross Chain Is Here: NEO, ONT, Cosmos And NEAR Launch Interoperability Protocols (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Trading Products Enter The Mainstream With A Number Of Inherent Advantages (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Goes Mainstream With TV, Newspaper Ads (#GotBitcoin?)

A Guarded Generation: How Millennials View Money And Investing (#GotBitcoin?)

Blockchain-Backed Social Media Brings More Choice For Users

California Moves Forward With Digital Asset Bill (#GotBitcoin?)

Walmart Adds Crypto Cashback Through Shopping Loyalty Platform StormX (#GotBitcoin?)

Congressman Tom Emmer To Lead First-Ever Crypto Town Hall (#GotBitcoin?)

Why It’s Time To Pay Attention To Mexico’s Booming Crypto Market (#GotBitcoin?)

The Assets That Matter Most In Crypto (#GotBitcoin?)

Ultimate Resource On Non-Fungible Tokens

Bitcoin Community Highlights Double-Standard Applied Deutsche Bank Epstein Scandal

Blockchain Makes Strides In Diversity. However, Traditional Tech Industry Not-S0-Much (#GotBitcoin?)

An Israeli Blockchain Startup Claims It’s Invented An ‘Undo’ Button For BTC Transactions

After Years of Resistance, BitPay Adopts SegWit For Cheaper Bitcoin Transactions

US Appeals Court Allows Warrantless Search of Blockchain, Exchange Data

Central Bank Rate Cuts Mean ‘World Has Gone Zimbabwe’

This Researcher Says Bitcoin’s Elliptic Curve Could Have A Secret Backdoor

China Discovers 4% Of Its Reserves Or 83 Tons Of It’s Gold Bars Are Fake (#GotBitcoin?)

Former Legg Mason Star Bill Miller And Bloomberg Are Optimistic About Bitcoin’s Future

Yield Chasers Are Yield Farming In Crypto-Currencies (#GotBitcoin?)

Australia Post Office Now Lets Customers Buy Bitcoin At Over 3,500 Outlets

Anomaly On Bitcoin Sidechain Results In Brief Security Lapse

SEC And DOJ Charges Lobbying Kingpin Jack Abramoff And Associate For Money Laundering

Veteran Commodities Trader Chris Hehmeyer Goes All In On Crypto (#GotBitcoin?)

Activists Document Police Misconduct Using Decentralized Protocol (#GotBitcoin?)

Supposedly, PayPal, Venmo To Roll Out Crypto Buying And Selling (#GotBitcoin?)

Industry Leaders Launch PayID, The Universal ID For Payments (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Quant Fund Debuts With $23M In Assets, $2.3B In Trades (#GotBitcoin?)

The Queens Politician Who Wants To Give New Yorkers Their Own Crypto

Why Does The SEC Want To Run Bitcoin And Ethereum Nodes?

Trump Orders Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin To Destroy Bitcoin Just Like They Destroyed The Traditional Economy

US Drug Agency Failed To Properly Supervise Agent Who Stole $700,000 In Bitcoin In 2015

Layer 2 Will Make Bitcoin As Easy To Use As The Dollar, Says Kraken CEO

Bootstrapping Mobile Mesh Networks With Bitcoin Lightning

Nevermind Coinbase — Big Brother Is Already Watching Your Coins (#GotBitcoin?)

BitPay’s Prepaid Mastercard Launches In US to Make Crypto Accessible (#GotBitcoin?)

Germany’s Deutsche Borse Exchange To List New Bitcoin Exchange-Traded Product

‘Bitcoin Billionaires’ Movie To Tell Winklevoss Bros’ Crypto Story

US Pentagon Created A War Game To Fight The Establishment With BTC (#GotBitcoin?)

JPMorgan Provides Banking Services To Crypto Exchanges Coinbase And Gemini (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Advocates Cry Foul As US Fed Buying ETFs For The First Time

Final Block Mined Before Halving Contained Reminder of BTC’s Origins (#GotBitcoin?)

Meet Brian Klein, Crypto’s Own ‘High-Stakes’ Trial Attorney (#GotBitcoin?)

3 Reasons For The Bitcoin Price ‘Halving Dump’ From $10K To $8.1K

Bitcoin Outlives And Outlasts Naysayers And First Website That Declared It Dead Back In 2010

Hedge Fund Pioneer Turns Bullish On Bitcoin Amid ‘Unprecedented’ Monetary Inflation

Antonopoulos: Chainalysis Is Helping World’s Worst Dictators & Regimes (#GotBitcoin?)

Survey Shows Many BTC Holders Use Hardware Wallet, Have Backup Keys (#GotBitcoin?)

Iran Ditches The Rial Amid Hyperinflation As Localbitcoins Seem To Trade Near $35K

Buffett ‘Killed His Reputation’ by Being Stupid About BTC, Says Max Keiser (#GotBitcoin?)

Meltem Demirors: “Bitcoin Is Not A F*Cking Systemic Hedge If You Hold Your Bitcoin At A Financial Institution”

Blockfolio Quietly Patches Years-Old Security Hole That Exposed Source Code (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Won As Store of Value In Coronavirus Crisis — Hedge Fund CEO

Decentralized VPN Gaining Steam At 100,000 Users Worldwide (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Exchange Offers Credit Lines so Institutions Can Trade Now, Pay Later (#GotBitcoin?)

Zoom Develops A Cryptocurrency Paywall To Reward Creators Video Conferencing Sessions (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Startup Purse.io And Major Bitcoin Cash Partner To Shut Down After 6-Year Run

Open Interest In CME Bitcoin Futures Rises 70% As Institutions Return To Market

Square’s Users Can Route Stimulus Payments To BTC-Friendly Cash App

$1.1 Billion BTC Transaction For Only $0.68 Demonstrates Bitcoin’s Advantage Over Banks

Bitcoin Could Become Like ‘Prison Cigarettes’ Amid Deepening Financial Crisis

Bitcoin Holds Value As US Debt Reaches An Unfathomable $24 Trillion

How To Get Money (Crypto-currency) To People In An Emergency, Fast

US Intelligence To Study What Would Happen If U.S. Dollar Lost Its Status As World’s Reserve Currency (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Miner Manufacturers Mark Down Prices Ahead of Halving

Privacy-Oriented Browsers Gain Traction (#GotBitcoin?)

‘Breakthrough’ As Lightning Uses Web’s Forgotten Payment Code (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Starts Quarter With Price Down Just 10% YTD vs U.S. Stock’s Worst Quarter Since 2008

Bitcoin Enthusiasts, Liberal Lawmakers Cheer A Fed-Backed Digital Dollar

Crypto-Friendly Bank Revolut Launches In The US (#GotBitcoin?)

The CFTC Just Defined What ‘Actual Delivery’ of Crypto Should Look Like (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto CEO Compares US Dollar To Onecoin Scam As Fed Keeps Printing (#GotBitcoin?)

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Bitcoin, Not Governments Will Save the World After Crisis, Tim Draper Says

Crypto Analyst Accused of Photoshopping Trade Screenshots (#GotBitcoin?)

QE4 Begins: Fed Cuts Rates, Buys $700B In Bonds; Bitcoin Rallies 7.7%

Mike Novogratz And Andreas Antonopoulos On The Bitcoin Crash

Amid Market Downturn, Number of People Owning 1 BTC Hits New Record (#GotBitcoin?)

Fatburger And Others Feed $30 Million Into Ethereum For New Bond Offering (#GotBitcoin?)

Pornhub Will Integrate PumaPay Recurring Subscription Crypto Payments (#GotBitcoin?)

Intel SGX Vulnerability Discovered, Cryptocurrency Keys Threatened

Bitcoin’s Plunge Due To Manipulation, Traditional Markets Falling or PlusToken Dumping?

Countries That First Outlawed Crypto But Then Embraced It (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Maintains Gains As Global Equities Slide, US Yield Hits Record Lows

HTC’s New 5G Router Can Host A Full Bitcoin Node

India Supreme Court Lifts RBI Ban On Banks Servicing Crypto Firms (#GotBitcoin?)

Analyst Claims 98% of Mining Rigs Fail to Verify Transactions (#GotBitcoin?)

Blockchain Storage Offers Security, Data Transparency And immutability. Get Over it!

Black Americans & Crypto (#GotBitcoin?)

Coinbase Wallet Now Allows To Send Crypto Through Usernames (#GotBitcoin)

New ‘Simpsons’ Episode Features Jim Parsons Giving A Crypto Explainer For The Masses (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto-currency Founder Met With Warren Buffett For Charity Lunch (#GotBitcoin?)

Witches Love Bitcoin

Bitcoin’s Potential To Benefit The African And African-American Community

Coinbase Becomes Direct Visa Card Issuer With Principal Membership

Bitcoin Achieves Major Milestone With Half A Billion Transactions Confirmed

Jill Carlson, Meltem Demirors Back $3.3M Round For Non-Custodial Settlement Protocol Arwen

Crypto Companies Adopt Features Similar To Banks (Only Better) To Drive Growth (#GotBitcoin?)

Top Graphics Cards That Will Turn A Crypto Mining Profit (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Usage Among Merchants Is Up, According To Data From Coinbase And BitPay

Top 10 Books Recommended by Crypto (#Bitcoin) Thought Leaders

Twitter Adds Bitcoin Emoji, Jack Dorsey Suggests Unicode Does The Same

Bitcoiners Are Now Into Fasting. Read This Article To Find Out Why

You Can Now Donate Bitcoin Or Fiat To Show Your Support For All Of Our Valuable Content

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Crypto-Friendly Silvergate Bank Goes Public On New York Stock Exchange (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin’s Best Q1 Since 2013 To ‘Escalate’ If $9.5K Is Broken

Billionaire Investor Tim Draper: If You’re a Millennial, Buy Bitcoin

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If You Missed Out On Investing In Amazon, Bitcoin Might Be A Second Chance For You (#GotBitcoin?)

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US Deficit Will Be At Least 6 Times Bitcoin Market Cap — Every Year (#GotBitcoin?)

Central Banks Warm To Issuing Digital Currencies (#GotBitcoin?)

Meet The Crypto Angel Investor Running For Congress In Nevada (#GotBitcoin?)

Introducing BTCPay Vault – Use Any Hardware Wallet With BTCPay And Its Full Node (#GotBitcoin?)

How Not To Lose Your Coins In 2020: Alternative Recovery Methods (#GotBitcoin?)

H.R.5635 – Virtual Currency Tax Fairness Act of 2020 ($200.00 Limit) 116th Congress (2019-2020)

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The Prospect of Using Bitcoin To Build A New International Monetary System Is Getting Real

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Former Regulator Known As ‘Crypto Dad’ To Launch Digital-Dollar Think Tank (#GotBitcoin?)

Currency ‘Cold War’ Takes Center Stage At Pre-Davos Crypto Confab (#GotBitcoin?)

A Blockchain-Secured Home Security Camera Won Innovation Awards At CES 2020 Las Vegas

Bitcoin’s Had A Sensational 11 Years (#GotBitcoin?)

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Google Suspends MetaMask From Its Play App Store, Citing “Deceptive Services”

Christmas Shopping: Where To Buy With Crypto This Festive Season

At 8,990,000% Gains, Bitcoin Dwarfs All Other Investments This Decade

Coinbase CEO Armstrong Wins Patent For Tech Allowing Users To Email Bitcoin

Bitcoin Has Got Society To Think About The Nature Of Money

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Dissidents And Activists Have A Lot To Gain From Bitcoin, If Only They Knew It (#GotBitcoin?)

At A Refugee Camp In Iraq, A 16-Year-Old Syrian Is Teaching Crypto Basics

Bitclub Scheme Busted In The US, Promising High Returns From Mining

Bitcoin Advertised On French National TV

Germany: New Proposed Law Would Legalize Banks Holding Bitcoin

How To Earn And Spend Bitcoin On Black Friday 2019

The Ultimate List of Bitcoin Developments And Accomplishments

Charities Put A Bitcoin Twist On Giving Tuesday

Family Offices Finally Accept The Benefits of Investing In Bitcoin

An Army Of Bitcoin Devs Is Battle-Testing Upgrades To Privacy And Scaling

Bitcoin ‘Carry Trade’ Can Net Annual Gains With Little Risk, Says PlanB

Max Keiser: Bitcoin’s ‘Self-Settlement’ Is A Revolution Against Dollar

Blockchain Can And Will Replace The IRS

China Seizes The Blockchain Opportunity. How Should The US Respond? (#GotBitcoin?)

Jack Dorsey: You Can Buy A Fraction Of Berkshire Stock Or ‘Stack Sats’

Bitcoin Price Skyrockets $500 In Minutes As Bakkt BTC Contracts Hit Highs

Bitcoin’s Irreversibility Challenges International Private Law: Legal Scholar

Bitcoin Has Already Reached 40% Of Average Fiat Currency Lifespan

Yes, Even Bitcoin HODLers Can Lose Money In The Long-Term: Here’s How (#GotBitcoin?)

Unicef To Accept Donations In Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Former Prosecutor Asked To “Shut Down Bitcoin” And Is Now Face Of Crypto VC Investing (#GotBitcoin?)

Switzerland’s ‘Crypto Valley’ Is Bringing Blockchain To Zurich

Next Bitcoin Halving May Not Lead To Bull Market, Says Bitmain CEO

Tim Draper Bets On Unstoppable Domain’s .Crypto Domain Registry To Replace Wallet Addresses (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Developer Amir Taaki, “We Can Crash National Economies” (#GotBitcoin?)

Veteran Crypto And Stocks Trader Shares 6 Ways To Invest And Get Rich

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Nearly $10 Billion In BTC Is Held In Wallets Of 8 Crypto Exchanges (#GotBitcoin?)

SEC Enters Settlement Talks With Alleged Fraudulent Firm Veritaseum (#GotBitcoin?)

Blockstream’s Samson Mow: Bitcoin’s Block Size Already ‘Too Big’

Attorneys Seek Bank Of Ireland Execs’ Testimony Against OneCoin Scammer (#GotBitcoin?)

OpenLibra Plans To Launch Permissionless Fork Of Facebook’s Stablecoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Tiny $217 Options Trade On Bitcoin Blockchain Could Be Wall Street’s Death Knell (#GotBitcoin?)

Class Action Accuses Tether And Bitfinex Of Market Manipulation (#GotBitcoin?)

Sharia Goldbugs: How ISIS Created A Currency For World Domination (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Eyes Demand As Hong Kong Protestors Announce Bank Run (#GotBitcoin?)

How To Securely Transfer Crypto To Your Heirs

‘Gold-Backed’ Crypto Token Promoter Karatbars Investigated By Florida Regulators (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto News From The Spanish-Speaking World (#GotBitcoin?)

Financial Services Giant Morningstar To Offer Ratings For Crypto Assets (#GotBitcoin?)

‘Gold-Backed’ Crypto Token Promoter Karatbars Investigated By Florida Regulators (#GotBitcoin?)

The Original Sins Of Cryptocurrencies (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Is The Fraud? JPMorgan Metals Desk Fixed Gold Prices For Years (#GotBitcoin?)

Israeli Startup That Allows Offline Crypto Transactions Secures $4M (#GotBitcoin?)

[PSA] Non-genuine Trezor One Devices Spotted (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Stronger Than Ever But No One Seems To Care: Google Trends (#GotBitcoin?)

First-Ever SEC-Qualified Token Offering In US Raises $23 Million (#GotBitcoin?)

You Can Now Prove A Whole Blockchain With One Math Problem – Really

Crypto Mining Supply Fails To Meet Market Demand In Q2: TokenInsight

$2 Billion Lost In Mt. Gox Bitcoin Hack Can Be Recovered, Lawyer Claims (#GotBitcoin?)

Fed Chair Says Agency Monitoring Crypto But Not Developing Its Own (#GotBitcoin?)

Wesley Snipes Is Launching A Tokenized $25 Million Movie Fund (#GotBitcoin?)

Mystery 94K BTC Transaction Becomes Richest Non-Exchange Address (#GotBitcoin?)

A Crypto Fix For A Broken International Monetary System (#GotBitcoin?)

Four Out Of Five Top Bitcoin QR Code Generators Are Scams: Report (#GotBitcoin?)

Waves Platform And The Abyss To Jointly Launch Blockchain-Based Games Marketplace (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitmain Ramps Up Power And Efficiency With New Bitcoin Mining Machine (#GotBitcoin?)

Ledger Live Now Supports Over 1,250 Ethereum-Based ERC-20 Tokens (#GotBitcoin?)

Miss Finland: Bitcoin’s Risk Keeps Most Women Away From Cryptocurrency (#GotBitcoin?)

Artist Akon Loves BTC And Says, “It’s Controlled By The People” (#GotBitcoin?)

Ledger Live Now Supports Over 1,250 Ethereum-Based ERC-20 Tokens (#GotBitcoin?)

Co-Founder Of LinkedIn Presents Crypto Rap Video: Hamilton Vs. Satoshi (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Insurance Market To Grow, Lloyd’s Of London And Aon To Lead (#GotBitcoin?)

No ‘AltSeason’ Until Bitcoin Breaks $20K, Says Hedge Fund Manager (#GotBitcoin?)

NSA Working To Develop Quantum-Resistant Cryptocurrency: Report (#GotBitcoin?)

Custody Provider Legacy Trust Launches Crypto Pension Plan (#GotBitcoin?)

Vaneck, SolidX To Offer Limited Bitcoin ETF For Institutions Via Exemption (#GotBitcoin?)

Russell Okung: From NFL Superstar To Bitcoin Educator In 2 Years (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Miners Made $14 Billion To Date Securing The Network (#GotBitcoin?)

Why Does Amazon Want To Hire Blockchain Experts For Its Ads Division?

Argentina’s Economy Is In A Technical Default (#GotBitcoin?)

Blockchain-Based Fractional Ownership Used To Sell High-End Art (#GotBitcoin?)

Portugal Tax Authority: Bitcoin Trading And Payments Are Tax-Free (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin ‘Failed Safe Haven Test’ After 7% Drop, Peter Schiff Gloats (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Dev Reveals Multisig UI Teaser For Hardware Wallets, Full Nodes (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Price: $10K Holds For Now As 50% Of CME Futures Set To Expire (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Realized Market Cap Hits $100 Billion For The First Time (#GotBitcoin?)

Stablecoins Begin To Look Beyond The Dollar (#GotBitcoin?)

Bank Of England Governor: Libra-Like Currency Could Replace US Dollar (#GotBitcoin?)

Binance Reveals ‘Venus’ — Its Own Project To Rival Facebook’s Libra (#GotBitcoin?)

The Real Benefits Of Blockchain Are Here. They’re Being Ignored (#GotBitcoin?)

CommBank Develops Blockchain Market To Boost Biodiversity (#GotBitcoin?)

SEC Approves Blockchain Tech Startup Securitize To Record Stock Transfers (#GotBitcoin?)

SegWit Creator Introduces New Language For Bitcoin Smart Contracts (#GotBitcoin?)

You Can Now Earn Bitcoin Rewards For Postmates Purchases (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Price ‘Will Struggle’ In Big Financial Crisis, Says Investor (#GotBitcoin?)

Fidelity Charitable Received Over $100M In Crypto Donations Since 2015 (#GotBitcoin?)

Would Blockchain Better Protect User Data Than FaceApp? Experts Answer (#GotBitcoin?)

Just The Existence Of Bitcoin Impacts Monetary Policy (#GotBitcoin?)

What Are The Biggest Alleged Crypto Heists And How Much Was Stolen? (#GotBitcoin?)

IRS To Cryptocurrency Owners: Come Clean, Or Else!

Coinbase Accidentally Saves Unencrypted Passwords Of 3,420 Customers (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Is A ‘Chaos Hedge, Or Schmuck Insurance‘ (#GotBitcoin?)

Bakkt Announces September 23 Launch Of Futures And Custody

Coinbase CEO: Institutions Depositing $200-400M Into Crypto Per Week (#GotBitcoin?)

Researchers Find Monero Mining Malware That Hides From Task Manager (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Dusting Attack Affects Nearly 300,000 Addresses (#GotBitcoin?)

A Case For Bitcoin As Recession Hedge In A Diversified Investment Portfolio (#GotBitcoin?)

SEC Guidance Gives Ammo To Lawsuit Claiming XRP Is Unregistered Security (#GotBitcoin?)

15 Countries To Develop Crypto Transaction Tracking System: Report (#GotBitcoin?)

US Department Of Commerce Offering 6-Figure Salary To Crypto Expert (#GotBitcoin?)

Mastercard Is Building A Team To Develop Crypto, Wallet Projects (#GotBitcoin?)

Canadian Bitcoin Educator Scams The Scammer And Donates Proceeds (#GotBitcoin?)

Amazon Wants To Build A Blockchain For Ads, New Job Listing Shows (#GotBitcoin?)

Shield Bitcoin Wallets From Theft Via Time Delay (#GotBitcoin?)

Blockstream Launches Bitcoin Mining Farm With Fidelity As Early Customer (#GotBitcoin?)

Commerzbank Tests Blockchain Machine To Machine Payments With Daimler (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin’s Historical Returns Look Very Attractive As Online Banks Lower Payouts On Savings Accounts (#GotBitcoin?)

Man Takes Bitcoin Miner Seller To Tribunal Over Electricity Bill And Wins (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin’s Computing Power Sets Record As Over 100K New Miners Go Online (#GotBitcoin?)

Walmart Coin And Libra Perform Major Public Relations For Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Judge Says Buying Bitcoin Via Credit Card Not Necessarily A Cash Advance (#GotBitcoin?)

Poll: If You’re A Stockowner Or Crypto-Currency Holder. What Will You Do When The Recession Comes?

1 In 5 Crypto Holders Are Women, New Report Reveals (#GotBitcoin?)

Beating Bakkt, Ledgerx Is First To Launch ‘Physical’ Bitcoin Futures In Us (#GotBitcoin?)

Facebook Warns Investors That Libra Stablecoin May Never Launch (#GotBitcoin?)

Government Money Printing Is ‘Rocket Fuel’ For Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin-Friendly Square Cash App Stock Price Up 56% In 2019 (#GotBitcoin?)

Safeway Shoppers Can Now Get Bitcoin Back As Change At 894 US Stores (#GotBitcoin?)

TD Ameritrade CEO: There’s ‘Heightened Interest Again’ With Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Venezuela Sets New Bitcoin Volume Record Thanks To 10,000,000% Inflation (#GotBitcoin?)

Newegg Adds Bitcoin Payment Option To 73 More Countries (#GotBitcoin?)

China’s Schizophrenic Relationship With Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

More Companies Build Products Around Crypto Hardware Wallets (#GotBitcoin?)

Bakkt Is Scheduled To Start Testing Its Bitcoin Futures Contracts Today (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Network Now 8 Times More Powerful Than It Was At $20K Price (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Exchange BitMEX Under Investigation By CFTC: Bloomberg (#GotBitcoin?)

“Bitcoin An ‘Unstoppable Force,” Says US Congressman At Crypto Hearing (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Network Is Moving $3 Billion Daily, Up 210% Since April (#GotBitcoin?)

Cryptocurrency Startups Get Partial Green Light From Washington

Fundstrat’s Tom Lee: Bitcoin Pullback Is Healthy, Fewer Searches Аre Good (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Lightning Nodes Are Snatching Funds From Bad Actors (#GotBitcoin?)

The Provident Bank Now Offers Deposit Services For Crypto-Related Entities (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Could Help Stop News Censorship From Space (#GotBitcoin?)

US Sanctions On Iran Crypto Mining — Inevitable Or Impossible? (#GotBitcoin?)

US Lawmaker Reintroduces ‘Safe Harbor’ Crypto Tax Bill In Congress (#GotBitcoin?)

EU Central Bank Won’t Add Bitcoin To Reserves — Says It’s Not A Currency (#GotBitcoin?)

The Miami Dolphins Now Accept Bitcoin And Litecoin Crypt-Currency Payments (#GotBitcoin?)

Trump Bashes Bitcoin And Alt-Right Is Mad As Hell (#GotBitcoin?)

Goldman Sachs Ramps Up Development Of New Secret Crypto Project (#GotBitcoin?)

Blockchain And AI Bond, Explained (#GotBitcoin?)

Grayscale Bitcoin Trust Outperformed Indexes In First Half Of 2019 (#GotBitcoin?)

XRP Is The Worst Performing Major Crypto Of 2019 (GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Back Near $12K As BTC Shorters Lose $44 Million In One Morning (#GotBitcoin?)

As Deutsche Bank Axes 18K Jobs, Bitcoin Offers A ‘Plan ฿”: VanEck Exec (#GotBitcoin?)

Argentina Drives Global LocalBitcoins Volume To Highest Since November (#GotBitcoin?)

‘I Would Buy’ Bitcoin If Growth Continues — Investment Legend Mobius (#GotBitcoin?)

Lawmakers Push For New Bitcoin Rules (#GotBitcoin?)

Facebook’s Libra Is Bad For African Americans (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Firm Charity Announces Alliance To Support Feminine Health (#GotBitcoin?)

Canadian Startup Wants To Upgrade Millions Of ATMs To Sell Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Trump Says US ‘Should Match’ China’s Money Printing Game (#GotBitcoin?)

Casa Launches Lightning Node Mobile App For Bitcoin Newbies (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Rally Fuels Market In Crypto Derivatives (#GotBitcoin?)

World’s First Zero-Fiat ‘Bitcoin Bond’ Now Available On Bloomberg Terminal (#GotBitcoin?)

Buying Bitcoin Has Been Profitable 98.2% Of The Days Since Creation (#GotBitcoin?)

Another Crypto Exchange Receives License For Crypto Futures

From ‘Ponzi’ To ‘We’re Working On It’ — BIS Chief Reverses Stance On Crypto (#GotBitcoin?)

These Are The Cities Googling ‘Bitcoin’ As Interest Hits 17-Month High (#GotBitcoin?)

Venezuelan Explains How Bitcoin Saves His Family (#GotBitcoin?)

Quantum Computing Vs. Blockchain: Impact On Cryptography

This Fund Is Riding Bitcoin To Top (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin’s Surge Leaves Smaller Digital Currencies In The Dust (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Exchange Hits $1 Trillion In Trading Volume (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Breaks $200 Billion Market Cap For The First Time In 17 Months (#GotBitcoin?)

You Can Now Make State Tax Payments In Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Religious Organizations Make Ideal Places To Mine Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Goldman Sacs And JP Morgan Chase Finally Concede To Crypto-Currencies (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Heading For Fifth Month Of Gains Despite Price Correction (#GotBitcoin?)

Breez Reveals Lightning-Powered Bitcoin Payments App For IPhone (#GotBitcoin?)

Big Four Auditing Firm PwC Releases Cryptocurrency Auditing Software (#GotBitcoin?)

Amazon-Owned Twitch Quietly Brings Back Bitcoin Payments (#GotBitcoin?)

JPMorgan Will Pilot ‘JPM Coin’ Stablecoin By End Of 2019: Report (#GotBitcoin?)

Is There A Big Short In Bitcoin? (#GotBitcoin?)

Coinbase Hit With Outage As Bitcoin Price Drops $1.8K In 15 Minutes

Samourai Wallet Releases Privacy-Enhancing CoinJoin Feature (#GotBitcoin?)

There Are Now More Than 5,000 Bitcoin ATMs Around The World (#GotBitcoin?)

You Can Now Get Bitcoin Rewards When Booking At Hotels.Com (#GotBitcoin?)

North America’s Largest Solar Bitcoin Mining Farm Coming To California (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin On Track For Best Second Quarter Price Gain On Record (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Hash Rate Climbs To New Record High Boosting Network Security (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Exceeds 1Million Active Addresses While Coinbase Custodies $1.3B In Assets

Why Bitcoin’s Price Suddenly Surged Back $5K (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin’s Lightning Comes To Apple Smartwatches With New App (#GotBitcoin?)

E-Trade To Offer Crypto Trading (#GotBitcoin)

US Rapper Lil Pump Starts Accepting Bitcoin Via Lightning Network On Merchandise Store (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitfinex Used Tether Reserves To Mask Missing $850 Million, Probe Finds (#GotBitcoin?)

21-Year-Old Jailed For 10 Years After Stealing $7.5M In Crypto By Hacking Cell Phones (#GotBitcoin?)

You Can Now Shop With Bitcoin On Amazon Using Lightning (#GotBitcoin?)

Afghanistan, Tunisia To Issue Sovereign Bonds In Bitcoin, Bright Future Ahead (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Faithful Say Blockchain Can Remake Securities Market Machinery (#GotBitcoin?)

Disney In Talks To Acquire The Owner Of Crypto Exchanges Bitstamp And Korbit (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Exchange Gemini Rolls Out Native Wallet Support For SegWit Bitcoin Addresses (#GotBitcoin?)

Binance Delists Bitcoin SV, CEO Calls Craig Wright A ‘Fraud’ (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Outperforms Nasdaq 100, S&P 500, Grows Whopping 37% In 2019 (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Passes A Milestone 400 Million Transactions (#GotBitcoin?)

Future Returns: Why Investors May Want To Consider Bitcoin Now (#GotBitcoin?)

Next Bitcoin Core Release To Finally Connect Hardware Wallets To Full Nodes (#GotBitcoin?)

Major Crypto-Currency Exchanges Use Lloyd’s Of London, A Registered Insurance Broker (#GotBitcoin?)

How Bitcoin Can Prevent Fraud And Chargebacks (#GotBitcoin?)

Why Bitcoin’s Price Suddenly Surged Back $5K (#GotBitcoin?)

Zebpay Becomes First Exchange To Add Lightning Payments For All Users (#GotBitcoin?)

Coinbase’s New Customer Incentive: Interest Payments, With A Crypto Twist (#GotBitcoin?)

The Best Bitcoin Debit (Cashback) Cards Of 2019 (#GotBitcoin?)

Real Estate Brokerages Now Accepting Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Ernst & Young Introduces Tax Tool For Reporting Cryptocurrencies (#GotBitcoin?)

How Will Bitcoin Behave During A Recession? (#GotBitcoin?)

Investors Run Out of Options As Bitcoin, Stocks, Bonds, Oil Cave To Recession Fears (#GotBitcoin?)

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