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GitHub removes Tornado Cash source code, researchers re-upload it

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The US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) placed the Tornado Cash crypto mixer under sanctions. The move has triggered concern across the crypto community. Following the sanctions, GitHub removed the Tornado Cash source code from the platform.

Researchers re-upload Tornado Cash source code

GitHub, a Microsoft-owned company, also shut down the user accounts of three individuals that contributed to the source code. The move triggered an outcry from the advocates of privacy and free speech.

The forks of the Tornado Cash software are still on GitHub. Matthew Green, a professor of Cryptography at John Hopkins University, has published another software fork with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

Green and Kurt Opsahl, an EFF colleague, have expressed their displeasure over removing the Tornado Cash source code from GitHub. The two have argued that the hosting service has stepped on the right to free speech.

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The researchers said that the main reason why they have re-uploaded the source code is to assess whether the removal was the proper response to the sanctions. Opsahl, also the general counsel at EFF, said that the government could not prevent any improvements or contributions to the fork because it was protected under free speech.

Green has also shared a similar thought saying that if GitHub brings down the code again, the firm will challenge the decision in court. The researcher also said that they had used Tornado Cash and Tornado Nova source code to teach about different aspects such as privacy and zero-knowledge proof.

OFAC’s sanctions against Tornado Cash

The sanctions of OFAC against Tornado Cash have triggered debate in the community. One of the issues that the community has raised is the lack of clarity with the OFAC orders. In the order, OFAC says Tornado Cash is a technology and a sanctioned company.

According to the EFF, “Tornado Cash” refers to multiple things, making it complicated to understand what exactly had been sanctioned by OFAC. The description of OFAC about what Tornado Cash is remains unclear. The EFF has said that it has written to the Treasury Department for clarification but has yet to receive feedback.

On the other hand, Coin Center, a non-profit crypto policy platform, has also considered taking legal action against the OFAC for imposing sanctions against the Tornado Cash crypto mixer.

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