Tornado Cash developer will remain behind bars until February

Tornado Cash developer Alexei Bertsev has been ordered to remain in jail until at least the next hearing of the ongoing February hearing. This comes after a Dutch court decided he was at risk of fleeing.

Bertsev, a Russian national living in the Netherlands, has been in custody since August following the US Treasury Department’s ban on the Tornado Cash protocol. US authorities said it was a money laundering tool and supported North Korean hackers.

Bertsev is accused of facilitating money laundering by writing the Tornado Cash code. The protocol is an open source decentralized crypto mixer built on the Ethereum blockchain. It mixes identifiable funds with others to disguise the original source of the coins. Because the protocol is decentralized and authorized, Pertsev has no authority over it.

Pertsev’s situation stands in stark contrast to the other potential bad actors that have wreaked havoc on cryptocurrency markets this year. Noted American whistleblower Edward Snowden compared Pertsev’s arrest to Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX. Snowden said it is Bankman-Fried’s political connections that allow him to remain free despite the possibility of multiple crimes.

“The White House sanctions and arrests kids for the “crime” of building privacy tools to protect you, while “regulators” were quietly palling around with the thieves who just robbed 5 million people. The difference? The thieves were big political donors,” he said in a tweet two weeks ago.

Bankman-Fried’s FTX has been accused of mishandling up to $10 billion in client funds, among other criminal business practices. It is currently in the Bahamas under the supervision of local regulators.

It should be noted that the people responsible for the biggest crashes, or at least shady trading practices, in this year’s crypto bear market have yet to be taken into custody. They include founders of defunct crypto hedge fund Su Zhu and Kyle Davies, Terra Luna’s Do Kwon, and former Celsius CEO Alex Mashinsky.

The crypto community is closely following Alexey Pertsev’s situation. If found guilty, this would likely create a precedent for other crypto founders to be arrested on similar grounds.

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