Roman Storm, co-founder of cryptocurrency mixing tool Tornado Cash, has been released on bail after being arrested on charges of money laundering. Storm’s lawyer, Brian Klein, expressed disappointment that his client was charged despite only developing the software. Klein also raised concerns about the prosecutors’ legal theory, stating that it could have dangerous implications for all software developers.
Last week, Storm and fellow co-founder Roman Semenov were charged with federal money laundering and sanctions violations. The U.S. Department of Justice accused them of facilitating the laundering of over $1 billion, including funds for the North Korean hacking group Lazarus. U.S. Attorney Damian Williams emphasized that money laundering through cryptocurrency transactions is illegal and will be prosecuted.
Bitcoin educator Dan Held and YouTuber BitBoy Crypto criticized the prosecution, arguing that the founders were being targeted for creating software to protect privacy. Held called it a dangerous step towards an authoritarian future, while BitBoy Crypto warned that no one in the crypto community is safe.
FBI Director Christopher A. Wray stated that the FBI will continue to dismantle the infrastructure used by cybercriminals and hold those who assist them accountable.