US Treasury Sued For Over-Statute on Tornado Cash Sanctions

  • Coin Center filed a lawsuit against US Treasury on Wednesday.
  • The suit claims that Treasury’s action exceeded its authority under laws and regulations.
  • One of the plaintiffs, David Hoffman, said he’s a victim of dusting and was forced to file a report reaffirming he’s not a criminal.

Coin Center, an NGO that protects blockchain networks and developers, filed a lawsuit against the US Treasury claiming that the defendants “exceeded their statutory authority,” over Tornado Cash’s sanction.

On August 8, the US Treasury sanctioned Tornado Cash, an Ethereum-based privacy app,  for assisting criminals in laundering money, leading to the arrest of one 29-year-old developer who’s connected with this illegal activity.

According to the document filed on October 12th, the plaintiffs are Patrick O’Sullivan, a customer; an anonymous person, who used the app to send anonymous donations; and David Hoffman, a well-known crypto analyst from Bankless, who claimed that his involvement in the sanctions was coerced.

In a recent tweet, Hoffman, who appears to be upset, said that he just got ‘dusted’ from Tornado Cash. His frustrations from filing a yearly report that confirms he’s not a criminal have led him to sue the US Treasury, adding that it’s going to be him against Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

To make it clear, ‘dusting’ is an attack wherein a trace amount of crypto, called ‘dust’, is sent to hundreds and thousands of wallet addresses. Attackers hope that this action would hide the real identity of the wallet address.

Hoffman’s case alleges that an unknown user sent him, along with other well-known users and celebrities, a very small amount of ETH, and because the culprit used Tornado Cash, it is impossible to find out to whom to return those ETH back. Inherently, these ‘dusted’ wallets will also be under sanctions even if they haven’t done anything illegal.

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Bryan is a gamer who became genuinely interested in crypto after his initial exposure to Play-to-Earn games like Axie Infinity and Pegaxy. He has basic knowledge of technical analysis and is keeping an eye out for interesting developments in the metaverse and GameFi space.