In its latest announcement OFAC allows users to withdraw their funds from Tornado Cash legally. In addition, celebrities who receive remittances passively are not prosecuted. Dissemination of the mixing tool’s open source code is also legal, regulators said.
According to a Tuesday update to the “frequently asked questions” section of its website, OFAC will offer a way for Tornado Cash users to legitimately withdraw deposited monies from the now-blacklisted platform.
People who made deposits into Tornado Cash before August 8 – when the Treasury forbade American citizens from using the service – can now apply to OFAC for a special license, which if granted would enable them to access and withdraw their money.
“OFAC would have a favorable licensing policy towards such applications, provided that the transaction did not involve other sanctionable conduct,”
In addition, the revised website claims that people who received tiny amounts of Tornado Cash affiliate funds without their consent won’t likely face legal repercussions.
What amount of cryptocurrency the Treasury would consider “nominal” in this context was not clarified. Further, how the Treasury will be able to effectively assess which transactions with these blacklisted addresses are genuinely unsolicited, and which are not, remains unclear.
The Treasury also stated that while it remains illegal for an American citizen to conduct any transactions with Tornado Cash, disseminating information about the tool itself – including its underlying open-source code – is legal.
“Interacting with open-source code itself, in a way that does not involve a prohibited transaction with Tornado Cash, is not prohibited,(…). U.S. persons would not be prohibited by U.S. sanctions regulations from copying the open-source code and making it available online for others to view, as well as discussing, teaching about, or including open-source code in written publications, such as textbooks, absent additional facts.”The Treasury stated
This attitude differs from those of other countries, such as the Netherlands, which maintained that writing code for a device like Tornado Cash “may be punishable” if the code is created “with the sole intention of conducting criminal crimes.”
The Treasury Department’s move to ban Tornado Cash in August sent the crypto community into a state of panic over privacy and government oversight, and left many fearing whether cryptocurrency activity their daily death could lead to criminal charges.
The Dutch authorities detained 29-year-old developer Alexey Pertsev in connection with Tornado Cash days after the Treasury imposed penalties on the company. He is still being held.
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