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Edward Snowden: Sanctioning of Ethereum Mixer Tornado Cash Was 'Deeply Illiberal and Profoundly Authoritarian'

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Three months after the U.S. government blacklisted the Ethereum mixing tool Tornado Cash, Edward Snowden called it a "do or die moment" that people in the crypto community "largely aren't taking seriously enough." Snowden, who exposed an unlawful mass surveillance program by the NSA nearly 10 years ago and fled the United States, also helped launch the privacy coin Zcash in 2016, a leaked video earlier this year revealed. 

Tornado Cash, launched in 2019, is a blockchain protocol that helps users pool and "mix" coins so as to mask the origin and destination of their transactions. 

"You push the button and privacy comes out," he said. "It doesn't do anything unless you push it, but it's a very simple thing. The suggestion that this is a bad thing, much less the kind of thing that merits granting the government a new and largely unlimited sanctions authority—to say nothing of kicking in the door and like imprisoning the poor bastard who was decent enough to build this in the park in the first place for us to benefit from—that is something that is deeply illiberal and profoundly authoritarian," said Snowden.

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