GoFundMe shuts down Tornado Cash legal defense crowdfunding


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American crowdfunding platform GoFundMe canceled a fundraiser dedicated to collecting legal fees for the co-founder of controversial cryptocurrency mixer Tornado Cash, Roman Storm, and its developer, Alexey Pertsev. 

On Jan. 22, Storm released a video asking community members to fund the legal fees for its court battle against the United States authorities for allegedly facilitating the bypass of U.S. sanctions.

While the Tornado Cash duo started receiving funds from supporters, on Feb. 14, GoFundMe canceled the fundraiser, citing the breach of their terms of service, specifically Term 22. It implies that the Tornado Cash fundraiser for collecting legal fees could “expose GoFundMe, its employees or Users to any harm or liability of any type.”

Many donors, including Ryan Adams of Bankless Ventures, saw their donations being returned as the GoFundMe fundraiser was canceled. He said:

“Good thing we have an uncensorable money system so we can still fund civil liberties like the right to a fair trial.”

He pledged to send his original contribution of $10,000 back to Storm using cryptocurrencies. GoFundMe confirmed that the funds will arrive in the donor’s bank accounts in three to seven business days.

Related: Tornado Cash co-founder promises ‘strong defense’ at US criminal trial

While live, Tornado Cash’s GoFundMe had collected $30,000 in donations. Storm and Pertsev aim to collect $1.5 million to fund legal fees in the United States. The duo currently relies on the crypto funding platform JuiceBox, where 316.75 Ether (ETH) has been collected.

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Legal defense fund support for Alexey Pertsev and Roman Storm. Source: JuiceBox

However, the Tornado Cash community questions GoFundMe’s intent to cancel the fundraisers, as the platform allowed similar campaigns to be conducted in the past.

Storm and Semenov have been charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to commit sanctions violations and conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money-transmitting business. However, they maintain a not-guilty stance on all charges related to money laundering and violations of U.S. sanctions. Storm is out of jail on a $2 million bond and restricted from traveling outside certain regions of New York, New Jersey, Washington and California.

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