Tornado Cash Developer Will Finally Be Released From Jail

Alexey Pertsev, the developer of the privacy-focused crypto mixer Tornado Cash, will finally be released from jail after months of detention. Pertsev’s wife, Eléonore Blanc, broke the news over Telegram, stating that her husband would be coming home next week. The announcement is a long-awaited development for the cryptocurrency community, which has been advocating for Pertsev’s release since his arrest in August 2022.

Pertsev was arrested in Amsterdam shortly after the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) imposed sanctions against Tornado Cash. The sanctions created unprecedented restrictions against developing and using smart contract codes, which led to Pertsev’s detention. Despite no formal charges being laid against him at the time, Pertsev was denied bail and forced to remain imprisoned for months.

Pertsev’s arrest sparked outrage across the cryptocurrency space, as many believed that he was being unfairly targeted for merely developing software. The situation raised concerns about the precedent established by the Treasury Department in blocking the functioning of open-source software. Industry leaders such as Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire voiced their concerns about the impact of such actions on privacy and security on the internet and the future of public internet digital currency.

Despite the sanctions, Tornado Cash continues to be accessible and generate volume. Earlier this month, the protocol saw over $600,000 in stablecoins from the 2021 Maker DAO hack sent through it. However, Pertsev’s release offers hope for the cryptocurrency community that the undue harassment and persecution of developers working on privacy-enhancing technologies will not be tolerated.

Pertsev’s Arrest

It is worth noting that Pertsev’s arrest was not solely based on his work on Tornado Cash. The developer was found to have worked at a Russian firm, Digital Security, which had been flagged for supporting the nation’s FSB. Nevertheless, the cryptocurrency community’s response to his detention highlights the importance of protecting developers’ rights and supporting efforts to enhance privacy and security online.

The news of Alexey Pertsev’s impending release from jail is a welcome development for the cryptocurrency community. His detention had raised concerns about the government’s treatment of developers working on privacy-enhancing technologies, and his release offers hope that such harassment and persecution will not be tolerated. Nevertheless, the situation highlights the need to continue supporting efforts to enhance privacy and security online while respecting the rule of law.

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