The U.S. Treasury Department added a slew of addresses associated with Tornado Cash to its Specially Designated Nationals list. In doing so, the Treasury effectively banned all Americans from using Tornado Cash, a tool that allows users to conceal the public trails of their cryptocurrency transactions.

Tornado Cash website has been unreachable for three days. Treasury defended the move by citing numerous instances in which the service has been used to launder money by bad actors. Experts and industry leaders who spoke to Decrypt differed in opinion about the ban’s legality and appropriateness.

The move may have just triggered a marked escalation in hostilities between crypto’s embittered privacy advocates and the federal government. Fundamental to the legal and ethical questions posed by Tornado Cash's ban is the service's status as a smart contract. The development could shape the space for years to come.

Tornado Cash is an automated program that doesn't require any employees to maintain or monitor its functioning. To some, the fact that no humans are involved in Tornado Cash’s day-to-day operations indicates that the service is, at the end of the day, code, with no mission or underlying intention.

Ameen Soleimani, one of Tornado Cash’s cofounders, has repeatedly stated that the service was never designed to cater to criminal money launderers. “We didn't set out to have it be for money laundering, or any intent like that,” he said.
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