DMR News

Advancing Digital Conversations

DOJ Refutes Tornado Cash Co-Founder’s Dismissal Request Over Charges

ByDayne Lee

May 3, 2024
DOJ Refutes Tornado Cash Co-Founder’s Dismissal Request Over Charges

DOJ Refutes Tornado Cash Co-Founder’s Dismissal Request Over Charges

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has recently opposed a motion to dismiss the charges against Roman Storm, co-founder of Tornado Cash, reinforcing its stance that the matter involves complex disputed facts suitable for jury evaluation rather than dismissal at preliminary stages.

Tornado Cash, introduced in 2019, operates as a crypto mixer, facilitating enhanced privacy for cryptocurrency transactions. It involves a website, user interface, smart contracts, and a network of relayers. However, it has come under scrutiny for allegedly enabling money laundering activities.

DOJ’s Stance

The DOJ contends that Storm, along with co-developer Roman Semenov, devised Tornado Cash to potentially assist in laundering money, operate as an unlicensed money transmitter, and breach U.S. sanctions. This accusation is supported by claims that groups like North Korea’s Lazarus Group have utilized Tornado Cash for illicit financial activities.

Roman Storm pleaded not guilty to all charges in September 2023 and was subsequently released on a $2 million bond, with travel restrictions confined to specific U.S. states. In March, Storm’s legal team moved to dismiss the indictment, arguing that Tornado Cash’s operations do not align with those of a traditional financial institution and that Storm had no direct control over who uses the mixer.

Prosecution’s Argument

Prosecutors led by Damian Williams argue that Storm was responsible for creating a platform that facilitated anonymous transactions for criminals. They highlighted the insufficiency of measures to block sanctioned addresses and maintained that Storm played a pivotal role in the operation of the cryptocurrency mixer.

This case comes amid a broader U.S. crackdown on crypto-mixing services. For instance, the recent arrests of the co-founders of another crypto mixer, Samourai Wallet, emphasize the government’s intent to regulate such services strictly. The CEO and CTO of Samourai Wallet face charges of money laundering conspiracy and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business, with severe potential penalties.

Industry Reaction

Ki Young Ju, CEO of CryptoQuant, commented on the situation, highlighting that crypto mixing services are not inherently illegal. His statement reflects a portion of the crypto community’s perspective that these services provide privacy rather than facilitate criminal activity.

The ongoing legal battle over Tornado Cash not only tests the boundaries of U.S. financial and cryptocurrency regulations but also sets significant precedents for how crypto-related services are viewed and treated under U.S. law. As this case progresses, it will likely influence the operational standards and regulatory compliance of similar crypto services.

Featured image credit: Sam Grant via

Dayne Lee

With a foundation in financial day trading, I transitioned to my current role as an editor, where I prioritize accuracy and reader engagement in our content. I excel in collaborating with writers to ensure top-quality news coverage. This shift from finance to journalism has been both challenging and rewarding, driving my commitment to editorial excellence.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *