Tornado Cash DAO passes attacker's proposal to hand back control

Quick Take

  • The attacker who took control of the Tornado Cash governance system is handing back control to token holders.
  • Their proposal to do so has now passed and will be executed in a day’s time.

Tornado Cash governance token holders are set to resume control over the protocol's operations, following an unexpected proposal by the person who attacked it.

The proposal to hand back control to the original governance holders passed on May 26, with 517,000 token votes in favor and zero against. It will be executed in a day's time.

This may be a swift ending to a ruthless governance takeover that didn't affect the protocol — although it could have done — but resulted in the theft of some governance tokens. According to Martin Lee, data journalist at crypto analytics site Nansen, the attacker stole 483,000 TORN tokens and swapped most of them for 485 ETH ($890,000), leaving 39,000 TORN ($160,000). Some of the ether was then routed through Tornado Cash, to obscure its origin.


Keep up with the latest news, trends, charts and views on crypto and DeFi with a new biweekly newsletter from The Block's Frank Chaparro

By signing-up you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy
By signing-up you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy

The attacker took over the protocol's governance system by managing to get a malicious proposal passed, which contained code giving them 1.2 million votes. They then used these votes to pass further proposals, handing themselves control over governance tokens that had been vested.

Tornado Cash is a mixing service on the Ethereum blockchain. It was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury in August 2022 under allegations that the protocol was used for money laundering. Alexey Pertsev, one of the protocol's developers, awaits trial in the Netherlands under allegations of money laundering.

© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

About Author

Tim is the Editor-In-Chief of The Block. Prior to joining The Block, Tim was a news editor at Decrypt. He has earned a bachelor's degree in philosophy from the University of York and studied news journalism at Press Association Training. Follow him on X @Timccopeland.


To contact the editor of this story:
Yogita Khatri at
[email protected]