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Vitalik Buterin Donates 30 ETH to Tornado Cash Legal Defence

Vitalik Buterin has sent 30ETH to help Tornado Cash developers Alexy Pertsev and Roman Storm cover their legal costs as the pair face money laundering charges

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Vitalik Buterin has given 30 ETH to support the legal fees of Tornado Cash developers Alexy Pertsev and Roman Storm.

The Ethereum founder's transaction was witnessed on chain, with the $113,000 of Ethereum being sent from his wallet to Juicebox, an open-source crypto crowdfunding platform.

Pertsev was arrested in August 2022 when US officials sanctioned Tornado Cash, alleging that the crypto mixer was used to launder millions of dollars. He was detained for almost nine months and continues to be monitored with a GPS but has denied the allegations ever since.

Tornado Cash co-developers Storm and Roman Semonov were also charged in August 2023. Storm will be trialled in the US in September.

However, Tornado Cash's founders are not charged with writing software – they are charged with operating centralized, profit-driven enterprises that violated the law.

Pertsev has received support from the wider crypto community including Coinbase. “If these sanctions stand, the damage will extend beyond these six individuals, and even beyond Tornado Cash,” Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said on X. “Even though we’re not the ones facing the brunt of these damages, we couldn’t stand by.”

Earlier this month, Pertsev appealed against his guilty conviction, handed down by a Dutch court, which sentenced him to 64 months in jail.

Pertsev was sentenced in the Netherlands for his part in facilitating $1.2 billion in money laundering through Tornado Cash between July 2019 and August 2022.

Dutch prosecutors have highlighted 36 alleged illicit transactions through Tornado Cash of which Pertsev was supposedly a co-perpetrator.

Tornado Cash’s Alexey Pertsev Appeals Guilty Verdict After 64 Months Sentence
Tornado Cash developer Alexey Pertsev was sentenced to 64 months for facilitating $1.2 billion in money laundering

The "Free Alexey & Roman" crowd-sourced fund now has over 596 ETH from 988 payments.

Nothing in the document talks about developing privacy technology as a problem. Nothing they are charged for was decentralized at the time the actionable conduct occurred.

Unraveling Tornado Cash’s Tumult: Beyond Code, Business Conduct Faces Scrutiny
Amidst cries of a war on open-source, the US government’s charges against Tornado Cash founders reveal a deeper narrative. It’s not about the code; it’s the centralized business operations under scrutiny.

Everything is about operating centralized businesses that conflict with laws that were known at the time. Whether what they did was illegal is a separate question to be settled within the legal system.