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April 28, 2024

DOJ Counters Tornado Cash Developer Roman Storm’s Defense, Asserting Money Transmitting Operations

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is challenging the defense of Roman Storm, a developer for the Tornado Cash protocol, by claiming that he was operating money transmitting businesses without proper license. Storm is accused of violations of federal money transmitting laws regarding the operations of Tornado Cash, a privacy tool for Ethereum transactions. His defense argues that the protocol is fully decentralized and operates automatically, which excludes any administrator's control over transactions. The DOJ, however, counters that while the protocol may be decentralized, Storm's actions before protocol reached full decentralization are in question. Particularly, the DOJ is asserting that Storm aided and abetted illegal activities by anonymizing Ethereum transactions, which could potentially facilitate money laundering or other illicit financial activities. As such, the DOJ argues, he was operating as an unlicensed money transmitter. This case is becoming a significant legal battle within the crypto community, as it could establish new legal precedents for developers of decentralized applications and blockchain protocols.