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Dutch Authorities Detain Man Under Suspicion of Co-developing Tornado Cash

Recently, a 29-year old man in Amsterdam — who is suspected to be one of Tornado Cash’s developers — have been apprehended by the local authorities.

Following the unprecedented decision of the Treasury Department to sanction the protocol, the Fiscal Information and Investigation Service (FIOD), a financial crime government agency in the Netherlands, has commented on the recent Tornado Cash incident.

Although FIOD didn’t disclose the identity of the suspect, it is reported that the man has been brought before an investigating court. The post stated that the man has been held suspect for utilizing Tornado Cash, the decentralized Ethereum mixing service, to perform money laundering schemes.

Since June 2022, the Financial Advanced Cyber Team of FIOD had been keeping a keen eye on Tornado Cash, adding that multiple arrests are not off the table.

Tornado Cash is a protocol for Ethereum that assist users to obfuscate their transaction history to preserve privacy. 

Normally, it is impossible to avoid compromising privacy when performing transaction between regular addresses due to the public nature of blockchain technology. 

But, with the protocol enabling anonymous transfer of crypto assets, Tornado Cash becomes one of the most popular among Ethereum’s protocols. When someone deposits their funds into Tornado Cash, they can withdraw them through a different address, which makes their tracks more difficult to trace.

After the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the U.S. Treasury Department added Tornado Cash and its smart contracts to its sanctions list on August 8, FIOD released an update. 

Similar to FIOD, the U.S. government officials stated that Tornado Cash had made it possible for cybercriminals to launder money. Subsequently, the protocol is banned from being used by all U.S. residents. It was seen as remarkable since it was the first time a piece of code had been sanctioned by the government.

The Treasury’s decision was roundly criticized by the crypto community, and the repercussion has been massive across the space. Circle, GitHub, Infura, Alchemy, and dYdX have all cooperated with the ban, sparking discussions about how centralized weak points contradicts the decentralized nature of cryptocurrencies.

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