Blockchain Association Supports Lawsuit Against US Treasury Office Over Sanctions on Tornado Cash

Blockchain Association Supports Lawsuit Against US Treasury Office Over Sanctions on Tornado Cash
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Advocacy Group Argues Sanctions Are Unlawful and Exceeded Statutory Authority

The Blockchain Association has expressed its support for six plaintiffs who are suing the United States Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) over its sanctions on Tornado Cash, a cryptocurrency mixer. In an amicus curiae brief submitted to a U.S. appellate court, the crypto advocacy group argued that OFAC's decision to sanction the privacy protocol was not only unlawful but also exceeded its statutory authority. The Blockchain Association further claimed that the decision was "arbitrary and capricious," and therefore, contrary to the U.S. Constitution.

Second Amicus Brief Filed by the Blockchain Association

This is the second amicus brief filed by the Blockchain Association in support of a group of Tornado Cash users who are appealing a lower court's ruling that upheld OFAC's decision to add the cryptocurrency mixer to its list of sanctioned entities. The Blockchain Association emphasized that Tornado Cash is a tool that can be used by anyone and argued that OFAC should focus on addressing the misuse of such tools by bad actors, rather than sanctioning a tool with a lawful purpose.

Seeking Approval from Congress

In its brief, the Blockchain Association suggested that OFAC should seek approval from Congress to ban crypto mixers like Tornado Cash, rather than stretching its existing authorities. The association believes that the proper remedy is to seek legislation that would provide supplemental authority in the decentralized digital asset context.

Blockchain Association's Stance on Tornado Cash

The Blockchain Association has consistently maintained that Tornado Cash has no owner or operator and can function automatically without human intervention or assistance. OFAC initially sanctioned Tornado Cash in August 2022, alleging that individuals and groups had used the mixer to launder over $7 billion in cryptocurrencies since 2019, including $455 million stolen by the North Korea-affiliated Lazarus Group.

Crypto exchange Coinbase has also expressed support for the lawsuit, pledging its commitment to the cause.