Tornado Cash Saga Presents Thorny Issues for Fintechs

1 min

On September 29, 2023, Michael Bresnick, Christopher Boone, and Brandon Wong published “Tornado Cash Saga Presents Thorny Issues For Fintechs” in Law360. The following is an excerpt:

Days later, Tornado Cash founder-developers Roman Storm and Roman Semenov were indicted by federal prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York for conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business, and conspiracy to violate IEEPA.

The OFAC case and the U.S. Department of Justice indictment raise novel and important issues that are likely to play a significant role in the development and nature of decentralized cryptocurrency projects, as well as the future of fintech business models.

In particular, the court in the sanctions case held that the Tornado Cash smart contracts constituted blockable property, relying on the Treasury Department regulations' definition of "property,"[1] which includes the catchall phrase "contracts of any nature whatsoever."

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