After the U.S. Treasury banned cryptocurrency mixer Tornado Cash for its apparent role in cryptocurrency money laundering operations, intervals of 0.1 Ether (ETH) transactions began occurring from the smart contract to well-known figures such as Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong and American television celebrity host Jimmy Fallon.
It is not possible to outline the source of the transactions per Tornado Cash design, and as a result, either one person or multiple individuals or entities could be entangled in the operation.
Due to sanctions, it is illegal for any U.S. persons and commodities to interact with Tornado Cash’s smart contract addresses, blockchain or business-wise. Penalties for willful disobedience can range from fines of $50,000 to $10,000,000 and 10 to 30 years imprisonment.
The consistency of the transactions reveals that the senders may be initiating a prank to direct law enforcement attention to the recipient individuals. However, the Treasury sanctions need “willful” engagement with the blacklisted smart contract addresses as a premise for possible criminal proceedings. Thus, it is dubious that the receipt of tokens from Tornado Cash on a gratuitous basis, without any prior knowledge or engagement, can form a violation of the sanctions.
The same day, Web3 development platforms Alchemy and Infura.io joined stablecoin issuer Circle and programming depository vault GitHub in blacklisting the banned Tornado Cash addresses and blocking access to its front-end application. Months before, Tornado Cash tried to address ongoing troubles that its platform was being exploited by hostile hackers to launder stolen crypto funds by sabotaging illegal wallets from accessing the application. However, its co-founder, Roman Semenov mentions that at the time the instrument only blocks access to the decentralized application or DApp, interface and not the underlying smart contract.
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