Dutch authorities decided to leave Alexey Pertsev, a developer of Tornado Cash mixer, in detention until Feb. 20. 2023, due to potential flight risk.
On Aug. 12, Dutch authorities arrested Alexey Pertsev following the decision of OFAC, the U.S. Office of Foreign Asset Control, to ban Tornado Cash. A mixer is supposedly related to criminal activities due to its ability to anonymize Ethereum transactions, leaving no trace between the sender and receiver wallet addresses. According to the U.S. Treasury, since Tornado Cash’s inception in 2019, the platform laundered about $7B of crypto assets, allegedly used by the North Korea-backed hackers, the Lazarus Group.
In August, the crypto community rallied, declaring that the government should not punish the developer for criminals using his code. Bobby Ong, the founder of CoinGecko and crypto OG, reacted on Twitter:
It’s insane that the developer of Tornado Cash was arrested for writing code that aims to improve crypto privacy. The authorities should go after the parties misusing the code or nefarious purposes, not the creator of the code. More devs will choose to build anonymously.
Related: U.S. Treasury Department Bans Crypto Mixer Tornado Cash
Yet, the authorities were resistant even despite the protests in Amsterdam. The officials have brought new charges, which will in no way advance Alexey’s release. Bitcoin developer Sjors Provoost keeps a close eye on the trial’s proceedings and explains why the investigation is taking a long time, citing the government’s inability to obtain all the necessary documents and hacking all computers.
Sjors points out three main reasons why the Dutch keep Alexey behind bars:
Disclosing the details, Dutch prosecutors believe that the developers of Tornado Cash, including Pertsev, owned most of TORN, Tornado Cash’s native token. Therefore, in their view, any token-based voting management proposals were meaningless. In addition, they view Tornado Cash as a business because the developers built the functional website, provided customer support, and promoted the protocol.
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