Six individuals have filed new charges in a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Treasury Department’s decision to penalize Tornado Cash, a cryptocurrency mixer.
The six plaintiffs involved, Joseph Van Loon, Tyler Almeida, Alexander Fisher, Preston Van Loon, Kevin Vitale, and Nate Welch, put forth new arguments on May 24, 2023, highlighting concerns of government overreach and violation of First Amendment rights. Their new filing supported their previous petition for partial summary judgment and emphasized that the case does not center around establishing specific regulations for emerging technologies.
The first argument presented by the plaintiffs challenged the U.S. Treasury’s classification of Tornado Cash as a foreign “national” by labeling it an unincorporated association. The plaintiffs highlighted the Treasury’s definition includes all owners of TORN tokens, regardless of whether they have a specific collective purpose. This broad classification, according to the plaintiffs, demonstrates that Tornado Cash does not meet the criteria to be categorized as an unincorporated association, undermining the Treasury’s justification for its actions.
The plaintiffs also argued that the Treasury could not justify sanctioning Tornado Cash by suggesting that users exercise their First Amendment rights in a different context, even if it is legally permissible. The plaintiffs noted that while the Treasury may possess the legal authority to impose sanctions, they no have the right to infringe upon individuals’ First Amendment rights. The plaintiffs considered the notion that individuals should seek alternative avenues to exercise their rights an insufficient justification for penalizing Tornado Cash.
While summarizing the lawsuit’s arguments on Twitter, Paul Grewal, Coinbase’s chief legal officer, stressed that the government’s attempt to outlaw open-source software by exploiting a property sanctions act is contrary to the intended purpose of the law.
The plaintiffs make 4 points here, but they all come down to the same problem. The Govt. is trying to ban the use of an open-source software using a property sanctions statute. Because this isn’t what the law was meant to do, they can’t make the law fit this case. 2/7
— paulgrewal.eth (@iampaulgrewal) May 24, 2023
This lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Treasury was initiated on September 8, 2022, with Coinbase actively supporting it. Court documents revealed that most of the individuals in the group have had prior involvement with Tornado Cash.
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