Vitalik Buterin Backs Tornado Cash Developers with Generous Donation of 30 ETH for Legal Support

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has made a generous donation of 30 ETH, equivalent to approximately $113,000, to support the legal defense of Tornado Cash developers Alexey Pertsev and Roman Storm. The donation was facilitated through the decentralized fundraising platform Juicebox.
The transaction, originating from Buterin’s address under the name vitalik.eth, was completed at 1:58 am EST on May 30. The “Free Alexey & Roman” legal fund on Juicebox had raised a total of 595.82 ETH, amounting to around $2.2 million.
Promoting Privacy and Free Speech
Crypto veterans like Buterin have long advocated for the use of privacy tools in managing crypto assets securely. Buterin’s dedication to enhancing privacy features on the Ethereum network is well-documented, making his recent donation align with his principles.
In addition to Buterin’s contribution, other supporters have also expressed their solidarity by attaching messages of encouragement to their donations. Phrases such as “you have our support,” “code is not guilty,” and “support freedom” highlight the importance of upholding open-source principles in the crypto industry.
This isn’t the first time Buterin has stepped up to support similar causes. In 2022, he contributed 10 ETH to a legal fund called ‘AssangeDAO’ on Juicebox, backing Australian activist Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks.

Legal Challenges for Tornado Cash Developers
Tornado Cash, a tool designed for anonymous crypto transactions, has faced legal scrutiny due to its potential misuse by criminals for illicit activities such as money laundering. This led the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to impose sanctions on Tornado Cash in August 2022.
Subsequently, developer Alexey Pertsev was arrested in Amsterdam for allegedly enabling criminal financial flows and facilitating money laundering through the Ethereum mixing service. Another developer, Roman Storm, along with Roman Semenov, were charged with aiding in laundering $1 billion, with Storm currently detained in the US awaiting trial in September.
Pertsev was recently sentenced to 5 years and 4 months in prison for his involvement in the illicit activities linked to Tornado Cash.

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