Bitcoin Fog Founder Convicted, Can Tornado Cash Co-Founder be Next?

bitcoin mixer
Table of Contents


  • Roman Sterlingov, founder of Bitcoin Fog, has been found guilty of money laundering and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business.
  • Despite maintaining his innocence during the trial, Sterlingov failed to convince the court with the presented evidence.
  • Tornado Cash and its cofounder Roman Storm will face similar charges in September of this year.

In a recent judicial ruling in the United States, the guilt of Roman Sterlingov, founder of the cryptocurrency mixer Bitcoin Fog, has been determined. Sterlingov, 35, was accused and declared guilty of several charges, including money laundering and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business.

Roman maintained his declaration of innocence during the trial, arguing that he was only a user of the service and not its operator. However, the evidence presented in court was not enough to sway the verdict in his favor.

Bitcoin Fog, the service operated by Sterlingov from October 2011 to April 2021, was accused of facilitating the laundering of over 1.2 million Bitcoins, valued at approximately $400 million at the time of the transactions. Allegedly, the majority of these funds originated from dark web markets associated with illegal activities such as narcotics trade, computer fraud, identity theft, and distribution of child sexual abuse material. It was determined that the mixer served as a means for criminals to conceal the origin of their illicit gains from authorities.

As a consequence of the conviction, Sterlingov faces penalties of up to 20 years in prison for money laundering and conspiracy to launder money, along with other charges carrying maximum sentences of five years in prison. Additionally, the forfeiture of seized assets from Bitcoin Fog has been ordered, including 1,354 BTC and nearly $350,000 in various cryptocurrencies.

tornado cash bitcoin mixer

Bitcoin Mixers Under Authorities’ Scrutiny

Sterlingov’s case is not unique but part of a broader conflict between the US government and the crypto industry. Another notable example is the case of Roman Storm, co-founder of Tornado Cash, another crypto mixer. Storm will stand trial in September on similar charges, including conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business.

These cases highlight the importance of finding a middle ground without persecuting those seeking true financial freedom, while also avoiding favoring the proliferation of malicious actors who exploit these tools and tarnish the industry’s reputation.


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