On August 9th,2022 the US Treasury issued sanctions against a crypto mixer, Tornado Cash. These sanctions were based on the company’s alleged role in using crypto to launder money. Soon after, ETH interval transactions in the amount of 0.1 ETH started to take place on the network. Well-known personalities like Brian Armstrong, Coinbase’s CEO, and Jimmy Fallon, a TV host started using smart contracts to send ETH. Since it is not possible to trace transaction sources on Tornado, it is assumed that many people or entities are involved in such operations.
Sanctions make it illegal for any US citizen or entity to interact or use Tornado Cash addresses on the blockchain using smart contracts. The penalty for disregarding or flouting sanctions can result in fines of up to $10 million and up to 30 years in prison.
Transactions are being carried out consistently and this is an indicator that senders are in prank mode. They are sending money to individuals to ensure that law enforcement is aware of this activity. Treasury sanctions need individuals/entities to willfully engage with blacklisted addresses. This will then result in probable criminal proceedings. It is not likely that tokens received from Tornado Cash without previous knowledge result in the violation of said sanctions.
On the same day as the sanctions issue, Web3 dev platforms Infura and Alchemy joined hands with other companies to blacklist Tornado addresses. These companies also barred access to applications that enable user login.
Previously, Tornado did try to address concerns that the company platform was being used by hackers to launder stolen funds. Tornado disabled illegal wallets from accessing applications. According to the company’s founder Semenov, the block is only for decentralized app access. Smart contracts are still accessible, and this was causing multiple issues.