GitHub Reverses Tornado Cash Ban But There’s a Catch

US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), placed popular crypto-tumbler Tornado Cash on the Specially Designated Nationals sanction list (SDN) last month. This triggered outcry from privacy advocates and freedom of speech activists. GitHub, a Microsoft subsidiary, removed the source code and terminated three user accounts belonging to individuals who had contributed code.

Recent developments saw the platform remove the ban on the coin mixer and its contributors. The Ethereum dev Preston Van Loon tweeted to inform that the repos were currently in “read only” mode. He said that the hosting service has yet to reverse any actions and restore the repositories back to their original status.

Loon believes that the move is still “progress towards an outright ban.”

Clarification of Interaction with Tornado Cash

Tornado Cash’s recent return to GitHub is in response to clarification guidance from the United States Department of the Treasury. This guidance stated that states “interacting” with the open-source code with certain provisions would not violate the OFAC sanctions.

“U.S. U.S. sanctions regulations would not prohibit anyone from copying open-source codes and making them available online for other users to view. They also allow people to discuss, teach, or include open-source codes in written publications.

The U.S. would not prohibit U.S. citizens from accessing the Internet archives of the Tornado Cash historical site. They would also not be banned from visiting the Tornado Cash website should it become active again on the Internet.

According to the guidance, an interaction should not involve prohibited transactions. Before sanctions are imposed on August 8, individuals can apply for an OFAC license in order to execute or withdraw transactions that were initiated using the mixer.

Tornado Cash’s Unofficial Archive

Matthew Green, a Johns Hopkins University cryptography professor, published an unofficial archive Tornado Cash’s source code on GitHub in August with support from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). Kurt Opsahl (an EFF colleague) and the researcher condemned the earlier move of the hosting site. They said that they would appeal the decision if the code is disabled again.

Although Tornado Cash’s fate is still uncertain, the clampdown was able to garner significant industry support. Coinbase was one of the six individuals that paid the legal fees for the lawsuit against the Department of Treasury.

In an announcement, the exchange stated that instead of targeting bad actors or property control, the OFAC imposed sanctions against open source technology. This was “a legitimate tool used by many innocent persons even if it is also used by some bad actors.”

CryptoPotato’s first post, GitHub Reverses Tornado Money Ban But There’s a Catch, appeared first on CryptoPotato.

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