US Congressman Seeks Clarification on Treasury’s Ban on Tornado Cash

Following the recent restriction placed on the mixer app, Tornado Cash, effectively banning its use in the US, a Congressman has written to the Department of Treasury requesting clarifications.

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In a letter addressed to Janet Yellen, the Department of Treasury Secretary, Rep. Tom Emmer sought explanations on several issues bordering on the ban. The congressman asked why restrictions were placed on a privacy-providing code as opposed to a person or entity.

Emmer inquired what the fate of innocent persons who received unsolicited funds was, as it is possible to receive funds unknowingly and unwillingly on the blockchain.

Emmer also demanded to know what options are available to appeal the sanctions as the addresses could not speak for themselves. While he understands the agency’s concerns, Tom said the unprecedented sanction was a threat to privacy and innovation.

Many crypto enthusiasts have shared similar sentiments with the congressman in the wake of the sanctions. It remains to be seen whether an added voice from the congressman is enough to get answers from the regulator.

Rep. Tom Emmer is a member of the House of Representatives. The vocal advocate for the crypto industry is a co-chair to the Congressional Blockchain Caucus.

Recall that the US Department of Treasury sanctioned Tornado Cash for not doing enough to mitigate the use of its platform to launder proceeds of crime. Most of these funds have been channeled into financing nefarious activities including weapons proliferation and funding terror cells.

Sanctions on Tornado Cash may harm innocent users

In compliance with the sanctions on Tornado Cash, several firms including dYdX, Circle and GitHub have all boycotted the mixer app. With this boycott, Kraken CEO, Jesse Powell is doubtful the ban on Tornado Cash will have merit in the court of law.

While the concerns raised about the mixer app being a ready tool for criminal elements are legitimate, the tool has also been used for several good courses. 

For instance, Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin said he employed the tool to obscure his donations to Ukraine amid the Russian invasion.

Since its inception in 2019, $7 billion in digital currency has been processed by the platform. Of this amount, only $1.5 billion is traced to crime or money laundering according to Elliptic – a crypto analytic firm.

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