Sanctions on crypto mixer Tornado Cash have been upheld by a US court after the judge decided that, among other reasons, First Amendment rights do not apply to the case.
Tornado Cash was blacklisted by the Treasury Department in August of 2022 for allegedly being a national security threat, partially because it reportedly may have aided groups like North Korean hackers Lazarus in laundering stolen funds.
Alexey Pertsev, a developer of Tornado Cash, was arrested and imprisoned by Dutch authorities in Amsterdam and held without trial until April of 2023.
Now, a US court has denied a challenge to the sanctions brought by six Tornado Cash users, upholding the ban on the Ethereum-based crypto mixer.
In the ruling, Judge Robert Pitman of the US District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division, said that the plaintiffs’ arguments of constitutional violations were not strong enough.
“Plaintiffs also raise a First Amendment claim and argue that Tornado Cash’s designation fails
constitutional scrutiny because it is overbroad and not narrowly tailored.
The Court will grant summary judgment to the government and dismiss these claims. Plaintiffs have not shown that the government’s action in any way implicates the First Amendment.”
Pitman addressed concerns that Tornado Cash helped people donate money to important political causes without fear of persecution.
The Judge said that the First Amendment protects Americans’ rights to donate money to social causes of their choosing but does not protect the right to do so through “any particular bank or service of their choosing, and Plaintiffs do not cite any case to the contrary.”
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