The U.S. Treasury and OFAC are facing a civil action complaint from investors due to its proscription of mixer Tornado Cash. The Tornado Cash ban has sparked outrage from the broader cryptocurrency community, as concerns of censorship emerge. Recently, six individuals have chosen to do something about the act.
The suit claims the U.S. Treasury’s ban on the mixer is unlawful
The six plaintiffs filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court at Western Texas. The suit was brought against the U.S. Treasury; the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC); Janet Yellen, Secretary of the Treasury; and Andrea M. Gacki, Director of OFAC.
The plaintiffs claim that the OFAC overstepped its regulatory boundaries by proscribing the crypto mixer. According to the lawsuit, Tornado Cash is not a person, organization or entity under the jurisdiction of the OFAC. The lawsuit highlights the fact that Tornado Cash is, instead, just a “software project.”
Additionally, the plaintiffs noted that the ban was a direct infringement of the constitutional rights of all Tornado Cash users. Furthermore, the lawsuit claims that OFAC’s action “threatens the ability of law-abiding Americans to engage freely and privately in financial transactions.”
American exchange Coinbase is bankrolling the civil action complaint. Plaintiffs include co-founder of Prysmatic Labs, Preston Van Looon, angel investor, Alex Fisher, and ex-Amazon engineer, Joseph Van Loon. The other three are Coinbase employees, Tyler Almeida and Nate Welch; and engineer at GridPlus, Kevin Vitale.
OFAC banned Tornado Cash last month for its usage in criminal financing
The lawsuit claims that the ban has restricted the plaintiffs’ access to their ETH tokens in the mixer. The suit notes that the funds were being used for lawful and humanitarian practices such as donations to Ukraine. The plaintiffs are asking the court to declare the proscription unlawful, and also override it, as it is unlawful.
The OFAC ban on Tornado Cash came on August 8. According to the Treasury, certain individuals and groups were using Tornado Cash for criminal activities. These activities include illegal financing and money laundering. Although Tornado Cash on its own is not criminal, its mode of operation creates a thriving environment for these acts.
OFAC banned all of the mixer’s addresses, and interdicted any contact with the mixer by an American entity. Additionally, the Dutch police apprehended Tornado Cash developer Alexey Portsev in the Netherlands shortly after the ban. Portsev’s arrest prompted a protest in Amsterdam. Also, the broader crypto community has not received the ban well.