Alexey Pertsev, the key developer of the Tornado Cash crypto mixing platform, has issued his first tweet since being arrested and detained by Dutch authorities in Amsterdam. The developer's detention in August of last year prompted outrage in the crypto community, and the tweet published may signal he has now been released.
With the terms of his release still unknown, it was suggested that Alexey would be released earlier this month, an assurance that came after a succession of failed attempts.
Tornado Cash was outlawed by the United States Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) last year after it was linked to crime rings including the notorious North Korean Lazarus Group. The OFAC sanction at the time claimed that Alexey's invention was used to launder up to $7 billion in cryptocurrency.
Tornado Cash is a decentralized tool that conceals the identities of senders and receivers by pooling deposited monies and sending them out in ways that make it very impossible to trace the persons involved in the transaction. Following the protocol's ban and subsequent arrest, the crypto ecosystem rose in solidarity and chastised US regulators.
Most importantly, Alexey supporters pointed out that while sanctioning a piece of code is one thing, cracking down on the person who wrote the code can legitimately sniff out innovation. OFAC and the US government were later taken to court based on these and other premises.
Obtaining A New Lease On Life
Being imprisoned for his invention has earned Alexey a number of industry nicknames, with some viewing him as one of the martyrs of the disruptive financial innovation that blockchain is bringing on board.
The linked tweet inquired as to what he had missed, and as an active developer in the sector, Alexey has a lot to catch up on, including the events surrounding the Ethereum ecosystem following the Merge, the Shapella Upgrade, and the more intense regulatory crackdown, particularly in the United States.