Blockchain

John Hopkins Professor Posts Tornado Cash Code to GitHub Despite Sanctions

In an attempt to archive the data and in disagreement with the platform’s decision to remove the source code.

Blockchain

John Hopkins Professor Posts Tornado Cash Code to GitHub Despite Sanctions

In an attempt to archive the data and in disagreement with the platform’s decision to remove the source code.

Following the United States Treasury Department’s decision to sanction crypto mixer Tornado Cash, and the removal of its source code from GitHub, the entire crypto space is debating whether or not either decision was ethical.

In what appears to be a challenge on the rights of free speech, a John Hopkins cryptography professor, Matthew Green, has republished a fork of the Tornado Cash code that was originally removed by GitHub.

“I am uncomfortable with the implications of the Github decision,” said Green in his post, explaining that “Github is a private company, and of course it can suspend users for any perceived violation of its Terms of Service. At the same time, it is hard to believe that Github’s decision was unrelated to the government’s action.”

He went on to share that, in his opinion, GitHub may have taken down the code in a form of censorship to mitigate any risk that it might face and that the decision was a direct result of the order from the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

Green points out several reasons why the removal of the code will do more harm than good, including the fact that his own students have built amazing projects from the code and that “the loss or decreased availability of this source code will be harmful to the scientific and technical communities.”

Also challenging the initial sanction by the OFAC is Congressman Tom Emmer. On Tuesday, August 23, Emmer shared a letter on Twitter that raised questions surrounding the sanctioning of what is defined as neutral and open source code.


The congressman asked that the Treasury Department to share which Ethereum addresses it believes to be controlled by a person or entity, if any. He also asked for clarification surrounding the “shift in OFAC interpretation of what is or is not sanctionable,” explaining that it would be helpful for both Congress and blockchain developers to understand the factors that go into the departments designation of the related technology.

At the time of writing, the Treasury Department has not issued any additional statements on its decision.

In other news, Ethereum is offering a $1 million USD bounty to developers who can find critical bugs before the merge.

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