Roman Storm was the second Tornado Cash developer arrested, one year after Alex Pertsev, the bitcoin first. Both open-source code writers are still in prison, fighting a legal battle against their respective authorities.
On January 22, Roman’s account on X posted a video where the Chicago-based Tornado Cash developer appears urging for help.
“A few months ago, despite my ongoing cooperation with the U.S. authorities, heavily armed FBI agents raided my home at 6 am and arrested me in front of my three-year-old daughter. My legal team and I are going to put forth a strong defense at trial, not just for my family’s sake but for the future software developers and financial privacy. Folks, I need your help.” — Roman Storm, Tornado Cash developer
Further, Storm explained that his case might create a major precedent for open-source development and privacy protocols. Therefore, the Tornado Cash developer asked for donations through the JusticeDAO, created to support the decentralized protocol’s legal battles.
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Tornado Cash is an Ethereum (ETH) mixer created to provide more privacy for Ethereum-based transactions. This tool has been under worldwide regulatory scrutiny since 2020, accused of facilitating financial crimes like money laundering. However, the defense appeals to Tornado Cash developers never engaging in financial crimes themselves.
Renowned crypto enthusiasts jumped in support of Tornado Cash developers
Notably, renowned cryptocurrency enthusiasts and developers pronounced in favor of Roman Storm, Alex Pertsev, and Tornado Cash. Among them, Bankless founder Ryan Sean Adams announced his company’s $10,000 donation to the cause.
Bankless just sent $10k toward your legal defense @rstormsf. We encourage supporters of open source software to donate too – not just for Roman, but for our civic freedoms. We have to stop them here. pic.twitter.com/NMLkJ8VtZm— RYAN SΞAN ADAMS – rsa.eth (@RyanSAdams) January 22, 2024
Viktor Bunin, protocol specialist at Coinbase Cloud, also manifested his support and donation on the same day. Additionally, Jordi Baylina, a Polygon zkEVM developer, explained this is not just a fight for the Tornado Cash developer but, instead, for the whole industry.
This is not only Roman’s fight, this is the full crypto industry fight. Privacy is a fundamental value required in the decentralized world we are building. I want to thank you and send full support to Roman and to all the devs and lawyers that are in the front line! https://t.co/3FY43DcK7U— Jordi Baylina – baylina.eth (@jbaylina) January 22, 2024
In particular, Baylina appeals to privacy as a fundamental value. This statement is aligned with worldwide-recognized fundamental human rights.
Interestingly, the United Nations (UN) Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights recognize privacy as a fundamental human right. Still, financial privacy is taboo, with UN-linked governments often directly acting against it through regulations and law enforcement.