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Vitalik Donates $111k ETH to Tornado Cash Devs’ Legal Defense Fund

May 30, 2024

Vitalik Buterin has just donated 30 ETH, worth roughly around $111k, to a legal defense fund dedicated to two Tornado Cash developers - Alexey Pertsev and Roman Storm - who currently face money laundering charges. The Ether tokens were sent via fundraising platform Juicebox.

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On-chain data from Etherscan revealed that the funds were sent about an hour ago, at 5:58 AM UTC for a gas fee of $4.98.

Source: Etherscan

The fund has amassed a total of 592.4 ETH. With the price of the asset hovering around $3700 at press time, the funds were worth more than $2.19 million.

Source: Juicebox

In mid-May, Pertsev was given a 64-month sentence owing to the charges against him. A Dutch court convicted him of laundering $1.2 billion in crypto via the Tornado Cash mixer in the period between July 9, 2019, and Aug. 10, 2022. In fact, the judges were of the notion that the mixer was a tool “intended for criminals.” Right after, the developer appealed against the decision. Likewise, Storm is facing charges in the US. His trial is scheduled for September in New York.

Alongside Buterin, several others from the community have been donating on Juicebox and leaving behind message notes like: “code = free speech,” defend freedom,” “open source is not a crime,” “code is not guilty, the right should be upheld,” “crypto is freedom,” “Tornado Cash is not a terrorist weapon, it’s a privacy tool,” and “freedom of privacy should be protected both on-chain and off-chain.” Some donors also went to the extent of exclaiming “I will not stand by the presence of evil.”  

In another recent development, US Treasury Deputy Secretary - Brian Nelson - said that the Treasury Department does not intend to ban crypto mixers or their services. It just wants to foster transparency. Retrospectively, it is looking to work with the crypto industry to come up with ways to bolster the same and remove terrorist financing from the equation.

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