On Tuesday, an anonymous user sent some Tornado Cash transactions to high-profile Ethereum addresses in what looks to be a troll attempt to implicate them in a potential regulatory problem.
According to Etherscan, accounts managed by Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong, TV presenter Jimmy Fallon, apparel firm Puma, and a wallet designed for contributions to Ukraine are among those affected. Ether was distributed to prominent crypto personalities such as artist Beeple and celebrities such as comedian Dave Chappelle.
— joseph.eth (@josephdelong) August 9, 2022
As reported previously, the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) of the Treasury Department, a government watchdog, blacklisted Tornado Cash. Tornado Cash pools funds to conceal the origin of any given transaction. US people and businesses were prohibited from dealing with or trading with the crypto-mixing service.
According to US officials, much of the cash going through Tornado Cash was linked to illicit activity, such as North Korea’s gains from hacking numerous cryptocurrency exchanges and businesses.
The idea to donate 0.1 ETH to celebrity wallets appears to have started on Twitter on Monday with a post by user Depression2019, who posted screengrabs from the on-chain transactions.
The gag successfully highlights the ridiculousness of such penalties for users who receive donations from banned addresses and have no way of declining them. The open nature of cryptocurrency eliminates intermediaries, unlike the traditional financial sector, which would utilise banks and other financial organisations as gatekeepers against such transactions.
Because Tornado Cash is a sanctioned company, US citizens are likely required by law to restrict incoming transactions from its wallets. OFAC regulations require any transactions or funds sent from Tornado Cash to be frozen.
Because it is not feasible to prohibit an incoming transfer on-chain, exchanges and other parties would be forced to block the addresses. This may be difficult for celebrities and corporations with public wallets not run by an exchange or similar organisations.