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Tornado Cash Saga Fuels Protest After Developer's Arrest

Open source development, free speech and privacy are all under fire with the arrest of an alleged Tornado Cash developer. Plus: interviews from the #FreeAlex protest.

August 25, 2022

“The message you got from U.S. authorities is, if your privacy-enhancing tool as a side issue also enables money laundering, then we’d rather not have it.”

Jack Schickler, regulatory reporter at CoinDesk, joins “Opinionated” hosts Ben Schiller, Danny Nelson and Anna Baydakova to discuss the developing story of cryptocurrency mixer Tornado Cash. Earlier this month, the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned the Tornado Cash protocol for its use by North Korean hackers to launder stolen funds. Two days later, an alleged Tornado Cash developer, Alexey Pertsev, was arrested in the Netherlands.

The local decentralized finance (DeFi) community gathered to draw attention to Pertsev’s case and ensure a fair trial. Schickler captured interviews from some of the attendees of the protest, many expressing concerns about the implications of Pertsev’s arrest to the right of privacy and the future of open source development. Listen to hear the voices of Buzko Krasnov, Eléonore Blanc, Naomi Schettini, James Murdza, Rinke and two individuals who wished to remain anonymous.

Schickler also wrote a follow-up after a closed-door hearing in Pertsev’s case.

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This show is produced and edited by Eleanor Pahl with additional production support and announcements by Michele Musso. Our theme song is by Elision.