Arrest of Tornado Cash developer sparks protest in Amsterdam

  • Tornado Cash developer Alexey Pertsev was arrested earlier this month for facilitating money laundering
  • Privacy advocates fear Pertsev’s arrest could hurt open-source coders

Supporters of Tornado Cash developer Alexey Pertsev gathered in Amsterdam to protest over the weekend, nearly two weeks after his arrest in the Dutch capital.

Dutch financial crimes agency FIOD suspects the 29-year-old programmer of facilitating money laundering through the crypto-mixing service. But the agency did not specify under which laws Pertsev was arrested. He has not yet been charged with a specific crime, according to the latest available information.

Pertsev’s arrest sparked widespread backlash among open source developers, and an online petition denouncing his detention has garnered nearly 2,000 signatures.

DeFi (decentralized finance) aggregator 1inch Network had appeal to individuals to join a protest rally in Amsterdam’s historic Dam Square, arguing that developers, including Tornado Cash programmers, have no control over how their code is used.

On Saturday, more than 50 protesters held signs with slogans such as: “Free Alex Pertsev”, “Writing open source code is not a crime” and “Will you arrest a weapons manufacturer for facilitating the shootings? public? »

The petition, created by Helsinki-based product manager Daria Mironova, states that “the accusations against Alex threaten to kill the entire open source software segment.”

US authorities believe that Tornado Cash is North Korean hacker team Lazarus Group’s main tool for laundering stolen cryptocurrency.

Earlier this month, the US Treasury sanctioned the mixer’s blockchain addresses, among other things, making it illegal for US persons to interact with the tool.

The mixer’s front-end web application is now offline, although the current protocol – which is powered by smart contracts – persists on the Ethereum blockchain.

Pertsev’s wife, Ksenia Malik, told Cointelegraph last week that she had no chance to contact him after authorities took him away.

Malik said she didn’t expect anyone to be arrested for writing open source code and expressed her gratitude for the support.

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  • Shalini Nagarajan



    Shalini is a crypto journalist from Bangalore, India who covers market developments, regulation, market structure, and advice from institutional experts. Prior to Blockworks, she worked as a markets reporter at Insider and a correspondent at Reuters News. She holds bitcoin and ether. Join her at [email protected]

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