According to Roman Storm, his criminal case over the use of Tornado Cash will “set major precedent for years to come.”
Roman Storm, the co-founder of controversial cryptocurrency mixer Tornado Cash, implied he was “scared” about his upcoming criminal trial, calling on support from right-to-privacy advocates.
In a Jan. 22 post on X (formerly Twitter), Storm said his legal team was “going to put forth a strong defense” at his September 2024 trial. The Tornado Cash co-founder faces three charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money-transmitting business and conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, to which he has pleaded not guilty.
“Whether you’re [a] passionate developer like me involved with Web3 or just care about software and privacy, this legal battle will affect you,” said Storm. “[T]his case will set major precedent for years to come.”
2024 is the year that will define the rest of my life.
Honestly, I’m scared. But also hopeful that this community cares with a passion.
Please donate towards my legal defense. pic.twitter.com/dgtWxFAKLM
— Roman S (@rstormsf) January 22, 2024
The Tornado Cash co-founder was indicted in August 2023 along with his alleged co-conspirator Roman Semenov, who remained at large at the time of publication. Storm was released on a $2 million bond shortly after his arrest, with his trial scheduled to begin on Sept. 23.
Authorities in the Netherlands arrested Tornado Cash co-founder Alexey Pertsev in August 2022, but he was released in April 2023 before trial. According to funding platform Juicebox, users had sent more than $28,000 for Pertsev’s and Storm’s defense as of Jan. 22.
Storm’s and Semenov’s charges were centered around Tornado Cash allegedly facilitating the efforts of the North Korea-based hackers Lazarus Group to bypass U.S. sanctions. The U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) added the crypto mixer to its list of Specially Designated Nationals in August 2022.
Following the U.S. Treasury’s actions against Tornado Cash, some crypto advocates filed lawsuits against the government, alleging OFAC had exceeded its authority in imposing sanctions. Two cases brought by a group of six investors and Coin Center are currently in the appeals process after losing summary judgments.