Alexey Pertsev, the developer of cryptocurrency blender Tornado Cash, is set to be released from jail on April 26. While he has been in custody since his arrest on August 10, 2022, this conditional release will allow him to better prepare his defense for his trial.
Alexey Pertsev should be released from prison
This is the continuation of a long soap opera that began in August 2022, Alexey Pertsev, the developer of Tornado Cash should be released on bail on April 26. Indeed, he has been detained in the Netherlands since his arrest in Amsterdam on 10 August, on the grounds that he would have facilitated money laundering through the protocol he helped create.
This event was a direct result of Tornado Cash’s smart contract addresses being added to the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list, the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) blacklist.
As stated by CryptoCanal founder Eleonore Blanc, who attended Wednesday’s court hearing, Alexey Pertsev will remain under house arrest pending trial, but will at least be free to prepare his defence:
️ @Free__Alexey IS FREE TO GO HOME ️
Next Wednesday 26th, he can await his trial at home with electronic monitoring.
The most important thing is that he can walk around and work on his defense, something that was virtually impossible while detained.
– Eléonore Blanc ETHDam (@blockblanc) April 20, 2023
The developer’s release on bail follows multiple refusals, the latest of which was in February. So, all is not yet won for the person concerned, who remains suspended despite everything to the decision of his upcoming trial.
The debate on the legitimacy of mixers
As regulation gains momentum around the world, cryptocurrency blenders are particularly interesting cases to study. Indeed, the accusations against Alexey Pertsev had caused debate among the crypto community, given that Tornado Cash is a morally neutral tool.
If it is true that the mixer is indeed used by malicious people, it is also used by users concerned about protecting their privacy in an environment where every action is visible to all.
It should also be noted that the protocol’s code is open source, and that its temporary ban on GitHub had raised questions about freedom of expression.
More recently, the developer Ameen Soleimani presented a fork of Tornado Cash, whose updated code allows malicious users to be kept away thanks to zero-knowledge proof (ZKP) technologies. As a result, such solutions may indeed be able to reconcile privacy and compliance.