Developers, family protest arrest of Tornado Cash developer in Amsterdam

Quick Take

  • Crypto and privacy advocates are protesting the arrest of Tornado Cash developer Alexey Pertsev.
  • Pertsev was arrested last week following the advent of US sanctions against the protocol.

A group of about 50 crypto and privacy advocates are protesting the arrest of Tornado Cash developer Alexey Pertsev in Dam Square, Amsterdam. Pertsev's wife helped organize the demonstration and is taking part in it.

On August 12, Pertsev was arrested by Dutch authorities in the Netherlands, two days after the US government sanctioned Tornado Cash — claiming it was used to launder stolen funds for North Korean actors. Dutch authorities claimed the people behind Tornado Cash made large-scale profits from these transactions.

Those protesting argue that Pertsev should not be held responsible for writing open-source code, regardless of how it’s used by bad actors.

Family, friends and privacy advocates protest the arrest of Alex Pertsev in Amsterdam. Image: Magistr.

“The accusations against Alex threaten to kill the entire open-source software segment. No one will dare to write and publish open-source code, no one will invest in the segment if they could be made responsible for the use of the tool they created by other parties,” stated the event page for the protest.

Oxorio co-founder Petr Korolev said on Twitter that Pertsev has not been officially charged, but has been interrogated about his role in developing the protocol.

"On the one hand, Alex is my friend, I am worried about him, his wife has been unable to visit him for two weeks, and we don't understand what is going on," said Korolev.

"On the other hand, this is a major case, and I am afraid that if Alex is found guilty, that will create a precedent that could hit open-source code developers," he said.

A Telegram group set up to coordinate the protest includes Yearn Finance core developer Banteg and Aave founder Stani Kulechov. Comments in the group suggest there might be a second protest in London in the next few weeks.

Almost 1,500 people have signed a petition protesting Pertsev's arrest and calling for developers to maintain the right to write open-source code.


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About Author

Tim is a News Editor at The Block who focuses on DeFi, NFTs and DAOs. Prior to joining The Block, Tim was a News Editor at Decrypt. He has earned a BA in Philosophy from the University of York and studied News Journalism at the Press Association. Follow him on Twitter @Timccopeland.