Vitalik Buterin Defends Privacy-Centric Crypto Tools and Calls Tornado Cash Founder Arrest “Really Unfortunate”

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Table of Contents


  • Vitalik Buterin highlighted the importance of privacy tools in the crypto industry and criticized the conviction of Tornado Cash developer Alexey Pertsev.
  • Pertsev was sentenced to 64 months in prison by a Dutch court for alleged money laundering.
  • Buterin called on governments to recognize the value of tools like Railgun and Oxbow in protecting user privacy.

At a recent event in Berlin, Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin spoke about the importance of privacy tools in the crypto industry and expressed concern over the conviction of Alexey Pertsev, developer of the Ethereum mixer Tornado Cash. Buterin avoided commenting on the potential approval of ETH ETFs in the United States. Instead, he defended the creation of new technological solutions to strengthen privacy.

Buterin described Pertsev’s 64-month prison sentence by a Dutch court as “really unfortunate.” The court found Pertsev guilty of money laundering due to the use of Tornado Cash, a protocol that allows users to obscure the origin and destination of their transactions. This case has been marked by the persecutory nature of governments and various regulatory entities.

Vitalik believes that many in the crypto community operate under the assumption that building privacy software is a legitimate and legal activity. However, Pertsev’s case has shown that this reality is far from accepted by the governments of many countries, especially when it comes to tools that provide privacy to users, thus keeping them out of state control. Buterin mentioned being concerned about the implications of this case for other developers, such as Roman Storm, co-founder of Tornado Cash, who faces similar charges in the United States.

The importance of crypto tools that strengthen privacy cannot be underestimated. These tools, such as Tornado Cash, Railgun, and Oxbow, allow users to protect their financial information from malicious actors and preserve their anonymity. Despite the benefits for individual privacy, these technologies have been widely attacked by governments and authorities due to their potential use in money laundering and other illegal activities.

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Vitalik Calls on Developers to Continue Working on Improving Privacy

In 2022, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Department of the Treasury banned Americans from using Tornado Cash and other similar mixers, and several developers have been prosecuted for their involvement in these projects.

Vitalik also addressed the value of new privacy technologies that use zero-knowledge proofs. These can verify that a user is not using an address associated with criminal activities without revealing their full identity. Railgun and Oxbow are examples of these next-generation approaches. They strike a perfect balance between privacy and regulation, which indicates that the persecution is truly aimed at restricting people’s freedom rather than protecting them or preventing crimes.

The crypto community must continue developing these solutions, and governments must recognize their value. Privacy is a fundamental right that must be protected, and technological innovations are essential to ensure that cryptocurrencies can be used safely and responsibly.


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