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Tornado Cash Developer is in Jail But There Are Hints of a Comeback for the Crypto Mixer Regulators Hate

Alexsey Pertsev, the developer behind Tornado Cash, is still behind bars due to charges related to money laundering stemming from his involvement with the mixing service. However, a recent tweet from Ameen Soleimani, who co-founded SpankChain and Reflex Labs, hints at a potential revival of the crypto mixing platform, irrespective of its developer’s legal challenges.

Soleimani’s tweet, which reads, “I sincerely hope no one thought we were finished,” is accompanied by an image. This image showcases the upcoming solution titled Privacy Pools v0, dubbed as the “successor to Tornado.Cash.” It highlights Soleimani’s role in its development and attributes the work to “MolochDAO”.

MolochDAO stands out as a prominent decentralized autonomous organization (DAO). Launched in early 2019, its primary objective was overseeing and organizing funds meant for core Ethereum development. In that same year, Joseph Lubin, the founder of ConsenSys, revealed that MolochDAO had amassed over USD 1.5 million in ETH contributions from several influential entities in the blockchain realm, including ConsenSys, the Ethereum Foundation, and Ethereum’s co-founder, Vitalik Buterin.

The buzz generated by Soleimani’s revelation has evoked a largely positive response on social media. For instance, a user named Buhlaque cheered Soleimani on with “[k]eep fighting the good fight”, while another user, wlstrhppie, cautioned Soleimani, advising him to “stay safe”.

Last August, Dutch authorities detained Alexsey Pertsev, a Russian national living in the Netherlands, due to his alleged ties with the Tornado Cash transaction mixing protocol. This apprehension came shortly after the U.S. Department of Treasury levied sanctions against the crypto mixing service. Pertsev, the mind behind Tornado Cash’s code, is slated for a hearing this coming April.

Pertsev’s Tornado Cash is engineered to mask the origins of cryptocurrency transactions. This capability has piqued the interest of regulatory bodies and has led to allegations that Tornado Cash played a role in laundering vast sums for the Lazarus Group, a hacking entity believed to be backed by North Korea.

According to an August 9th statement from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, they imposed sanctions on “Tornado Cash, having been implicated in the laundering of more than $7 billion in digital currency since its 2019 inception. This sum includes a staggering $455 million attributed to the Lazarus Group, a North Korean state-supported cyber group. The U.S. had previously sanctioned this group in 2019 following the most substantial recorded virtual currency theft.”

The U.S. Treasury has expressed concerns about crypto “mixers that abet criminals, considering them detrimental to U.S. national security.” This sentiment suggests that any resurgence or iteration of Tornado might not be received warmly by the regulatory body.

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