The Blockchain Association has provided new support to six plaintiffs who sued the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) over its sanctions on cryptocurrency mixer Tornado Cash.
In a Nov. 20 amicus brief before a U.S. appeals court, the cryptocurrency advocacy group argued that OFAC’s decision to sanction the privacy protocol was not only illegal but exceeded its legal authority. and was both “arbitrary and capricious,” contrary to the U.S. Constitution.
It is the second amicus brief filed by the Blockchain Association supporting a group of Tornado Cash users appealing a lower court ruling that upheld OFAC’s decision to add the cryptocurrency mixer to its list of sanctioned entities.
Today we filed an amicus brief in the Fifth Circuit appeal of Van Loon against Treasury regarding OFAC sanctions against Tornado Cash.
— Blockchain Association (@BlockchainAssn) November 20, 2023
Blockchain Association Senior Counsel Marisa Coppel emphasized in a Nov. 20 statement that OFAC should focus on sanctioning bad actors rather than directly banning the tools, which she says it has no authority over.
“OFAC should see Tornado Cash for what it is: a tool that anyone can use,” Coppel said. “Instead of sanctioning a tool with a legal purpose, OFAC should continue to focus on bad actors who misuse such tools.”
“OFAC’s action sets a dangerous new precedent that dramatically exceeds its authority and endangers the right to privacy of law-abiding Americans.”
In its report, the Blockchain Association suggested that OFAC should act within the confines of the law and seek congressional approval to ban cryptocurrency mixers like Tornado Cash.
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“The appropriate remedy is to seek congressional legislation that provides additional authority in the uniquely decentralized context of digital assets, not unduly stretch its existing authorities,” he said.
“Such a power grab would be a slippery slope that could threaten all kinds of Internet-based tools that until now have been freely available.”
The Blockchain Association has long maintained that Tornado Cash has no owner or operator and can operate automatically without human intervention or assistance.
5/ OFAC’s authority only extends to people or property… Tornado Cash software is neither.
There is no owner.
It works autonomously.
– Marisa Tashman Coppel (@MTCoppel) November 20, 2023
OFAC first sanctioned Tornado Cash in August 2022. It alleged that individuals and groups had used the mixer to launder more than $7 billion in cryptocurrency since 2019, including $455 million stolen by the affiliated Lazarus Group. to North Korea.
Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase also backed the lawsuit and pledged to
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