Distilling the Tornado Cash and Samourai Suits

According to the Department of Justice, the answer is yes. The Tornado Cash developers didn’t just build an open-source piece of software; they developed an actual business facilitating transactions that the federal government deemed illegal, the DOJ said in both an indictment last year and a filing last Friday. Tornado Cash isn’t just a set of smart contracts released into the world; it’s an entire ecosystem of smart contracts, a front end, a user interface and experience, and so much more. In pursuing this argument, the DOJ is also raising new questions about the activities an entity might engage in to be deemed a money transmitter.

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