Vitalik Buterin donates over $100,000 to Tornado Cash developers’ legal defense

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin donated 30 ETH, approximately $113,000, to support the legal defense of Tornado Cash developers Alexey Pertsev and Roman Storm.

Etherscan data shows that Buterin donated to the “Free Pertsev and Storm” defense fund on the decentralized fundraising platform Juicebox early today, May 30. The fund had raised 591 ETH worth $2.2 million as of press time.

Buterin’s donation is unsurprising, considering he has been a prominent advocate for crypto privacy tools and a consistent user of such platforms.

Tornado Cash developers’ legal trouble

Over the past year, Pertsev and Storm, the Tornado Cash privacy protocol developers, have faced legal troubles for their association with the crypto mixer.

Earlier this month, a Dutch court sentenced Pertsev to 64 months in prison for laundering approximately $1.2 billion through the Tornado Cash crypto mixer between July 2019 and August 2022. However, the developer has reportedly appealed against the judgment at the s-Hertogenbosch Court of Appeal in the Netherlands.

Similarly, Storm has been detained in the US since 2023, and his trial is scheduled for September.

Meanwhile, Buterin’s donation reflects the growing support the developers continue to enjoy within the crypto community. Last month, three blockchain advocacy groups filed amicus curiae briefs to defend Storm against criminal charges in the US, supporting his efforts to dismiss the charges.

Moreover, US lawmakers Senators Cynthia Lummis and Ron Wyden have also challenged the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) attempt to expand the definition of a money-transmitting business to include non-custodial crypto asset software services like Tornado Cash. They argued that such broad definitions would stifle innovation and shake confidence in the DOJ’s respect for the rule of law.

Additionally, several crypto projects are considering proposals to support developers. Discussions about potential donations are ongoing on Optimism, Aave, MakerDAO, YearnFi, Alchemix, and Uniswap forums.

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