Cardano founder Charles Hoskinson says the US government banning Tornado Cash is setting a dangerous regulatory precedent.
Earlier this month, the US Treasury Department banned Americans from using the crypto mixing service, citing national security concerns as the agency claims the protocol has been used to launder $7 billion in crypto assets since 2019.
In a new video update, Hoskinson tells his 315,000 YouTube subscribers that sanctioning code for being misused could be a violation of free speech.
“The protocol in developer understanding that we have as developers is that when we write code, it’s an expression. As long as we don’t get involved in running and using that code for any purpose, we just write it, it’s like writing a book.
For example, you could write a book that says “This is how you make cyanide” [or] ‘That’s how you build a bomb’, things like this, and for the most part they’re just words. You don’t tell people to do this.
In a free society, we generally let people do things like this, and it’s very uncomfortable when they start saying no.”
Hoskinson adds that regulators are going too far in sanctioning Tornado Cash, because the developer never participated in its use or told others how to use it.
“Basically, they claim that software developers are responsible for how their software is used, whether they can control it or not, which is an extremely dangerous precedent.
For example, if you want to go very far into the extreme, the Linux kernel developers create the kernel of an operating system. North Korea could take that kernel, build its own operating system, and use it as an ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile) operating system.
So hypothetically, you could say that the Linux kernel administrators are contributing to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. You could say that, if you wanted to.
That is clearly absurd. But the problem is the same legal structure you could blame the Tornado Cash developer with if they weren’t involved in using and running the system, they just wrote the code, could technically be used this way.
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