Github has removed the source code for Tornado Cash, a crypto privacy mixer. This prompted outcry from privacy advocates and freedom of speech activists.
Just 24 hours after the US Treasury Department added privacy tool to its sanctions lists, the source code for Tornado Cash crypto transaction mixer has vanished from Github.
Yesterday, the Treasury Department banned Americans from using Tornado and transacting with many Ethereum addresses that are linked to Tornado Cash.
The Treasury announced that these measures were taken to combat criminals who had used the service to “launder more than $7 Billion of virtual currency since its inception in 2019”.
It said that $7.8 million was also stolen by criminals in last Thursday’s Nomad Bridge hack via Tornado.
Reports emerged several hours later that Github, the code platform that hosted Tornado Cash’s code, had also taken action.
Roman Semenov, founder of Tornado Cash, tweeted that his Github account was suspended just after the announcement of the government’s blacklist.
The quick suppression by the federal government of the crypto privacy tool prompted an outcry from many industry leaders who cited the 1996 Federal court case, “Bernstein V U.S.” which established “source codes as speech” under the First Amendment.
Patrick Collins, a smart contract developer, said that the move was worse than sanctioning a website and that he is “paging lawyers.”
Github confirmed that the code was removed, but a representative replied that smart contracts were on the Ethereum blockchain. It doesn’t affect Tornado Cash contracts.