Tornado Cash developer appeals verdict, KOLs slam Dutch system

Tornado Cash developer Alexey Pertsev has reportedly appealed a guilty verdict in the Netherlands, a case that has sparked a wider discourse crypto privacy.

Pertsev and his legal team, led by lawyer Keith Cheng, reportedly submitted an appeal against the 64-month sentence for allegedly facilitating over $2.2 billion in money laundering through the Ethereum-powered crypto mixer, Tornado Cash.

Several media agencies reported the motion filed with the s-Hertogenbosch Court of Appeal, but it remained to be seen if the appeal was approved at press time. An attempt by to contact Pertsev’s lawyers for confirmation was not immediately replied to. 

On May 14, a three-judge panel ruled that Pertsev created the open-source privacy tool for illicit use from inception. Tornado Cash allows users to anonymize transactions on an otherwise public blockchain network.

According to the court, Pertsev and other major contributors should be held liable for developing tools without guarding against criminal access. 

Crypto community rallies after Dutch Tornado Cash Verdict

The outcome of Pertsev’s trial was met with backlash from the crypto community, with several key opinion leaders scrutinizing the verdict as a war on privacy in Europe. Many argue this reprsents a dangerous precedent for future open-source development cases.

Coin Bureau CEO and co-founder Nic Puckrin likened the verdict to blaming Microsoft for developing an operating system used by hackers, or charging car makers for aiding bank heists. 

Privacy advocate Chris Blec insisted that new laws are required to address emerging technology built on blockchains to protect user privacy. Industry proponents have echoed this sentiment, arguing that open-source code is not a criminal offense. 

One user named “Novacula Occami” presented a different view, criticizing crypto proponents for adopting a privacy maximalist standpoint despite the clear criminal use of tools like Tornado Cash. “Money laundering, terrorism financing, and fraud are illegal and crypto doesn’t get a pass,” the so-called crypto realist wrote.

As the debate over blockchain privacy continues and Pertsev fights his sentence in the Netherlands, U.S. crypto participants look toward the trial of another Tornado Cash co-founder, Roman Storm.

Storm is due in court this September over similar money laundering allegations. However, experts note that U.S. laws differ from Dutch legislation and a Southern District of New York judge may reach a different conclusion.

Recent cases from the Department of Justice against crypto mixers and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network’s interpretation of money-transmitting policies pose questions regarding the possible outcomes of Storm’s trial and other instances like Samourai Wallet.

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