Three biggest stories from past week in the crypto space

Quick Take

  • The US Treasury sanctioned Tornado Cash, putting crypto’s censorship resistance in the spotlight.
  • Ethereum’s proof-of-stake transition is to happen in mid-September.

There is seldom a dull moment in the crypto news cycle and the past week was no different.

The US Treasury sanctioned open-source code for the first time, Ethereum’s transition to proof-of-stake passed another milestone and the institutional bitcoin investment space welcomed a major player.

Here are three of the biggest stories from this past week:

Tornado Cash sanctioned by US Treasury

The US Treasury imposed sanctions on crypto mixer Tornado Cash by adding 44 Ethereum and usd coin (USDC) wallets associated with the service to its Specially Designated Nationals list. US authorities said the action was in connection with reports that North Korean hackers were using the mixer to launder proceeds from several high-profile crypto hacks.

Monday’s sanctions triggered widespread criticisms from several quarters in the crypto space. These criticisms increased when Dutch authorities arrested a Tornado Cash developer on Friday.

Tornado Cash has faced de-platforming issues on multiple fronts all week. The mixer’s website, email and GitHub have been taken down. The same happened with Tornado Cash’s Discord server and community page.

USDC stablecoin issuer Circle also froze the mixer’s funds in the sanctioned wallets. Crypto apps including DeFi protocols and node providers have begun blocking access to users with wallets that have Tornado Cash transactions in their history.


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Goerli testnet merge succeeds

Ethereum developers executed the Goerli testnet merge on Wednesday. This marked the final dress rehearsal for the mainnet merge when Ethereum will transition from proof-of-work (PoW) to proof-of-stake (PoS).

The mainnet merge now has a tentative date. Ethereum core developers said on Thursday that the event will likely happen in mid-September — 15th or 16th.

Not everyone in the Ethereum ecosystem supports the merge. There are reports of a miner-led hard fork of the blockchain to maintain the PoW status quo. Those at the heart of this movement said on Friday that an ETHPoW chain was inevitable. Ethereum co-creator Vitali Buterin added to the conversation, saying an ETHPoW fork was unlikely to succeed.

BlackRock makes crypto splash

The $9 trillion asset manager announced its first crypto offering: a private bitcoin (BTC) trust for institutional investors. This BlackRock product offers US institutional investors direct exposure to spot BTC.

The announcement came barely a week after the asset management giant partnered with Coinbase. BlackRock’s deal with Coinbase will see the former being able to offer corporate clients access to crypto investment products via Coinbase Prime.

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About Author

Osato is a news reporter at The Block as part of the crypto ecosystems team that focuses on DAO governance, staking, blockchain layers, and DeFi. He was previously a news reporter at Cointelegraph. Based in Lagos, Nigeria, he enjoys crosswords, poker, and attempting to beat his Scrabble high score. Follow him on Twitter at @OsatoNomayo.