Arbitrum DAO removes proposal to fund Tornado Cash devs’ legal bills


The Arbitrum DAO has removed a proposal seeking to fund the legal defense costs of Tornado Cash’s developers. 

The proposal sought to allocate nearly $1.3 million worth of ARB tokens from the community wallet in support of Roman Storm and Alexey Pertsev, the developers of the crypto mixer Tornado Cash. In addition, the budget could be used for public relations and advocacy efforts promoting privacy-preserving technologies.

Behind the initiative was the pseudonymous delegate DK, who submitted the proposal on March 7, calling for a “robust legal defense” for the developers. According to an Arbitrum spokesperson, the proposal was later deleted at the author’s request.

“I can confirm that the forum was removed at the request of the author of the proposal.”

The reasons underlying this modification remain unclear. Cointelegraph contacted DK, but has not yet received a response.

According to allegations against Tornado Cash and its founders, the platform laundered over $1 billion in illicit funds, ​​including money linked to the hacking organization Lazarus Group. The United States has charged the developers with money laundering, sanctions violations, and running an unlicensed money transfer business.

Screenshot of the proposal on March 8. Source: Snapshot/Arbitrum DAO

Pertsev was arrested in August 2022 in the Netherlands, while Storm was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in August 2023. Roman Semenov, the third Tornado Cash co-founder, remains at large.

Tornado Cash’s supporters argue that it merely provides software for decentralized money transmission and does not directly engage in money transmission itself. The crackdown on the platform has also been considered a threat to developers working on privacy-oriented applications.

The developers have faced other financial setbacks. Crowdfunding platform GoFundMe canceled a fundraiser dedicated to collecting legal fees for Storm and Pertsev on Feb. 16, citing a breach of their terms of service that could “expose GoFundMe, its employees or Users to any harm or liability of any type.”

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