You are currently viewing Lawyers Challenging U.S. Tornado Cash Sanctions Say Free Speech Is at Stake

Are smart contracts property? Are holders of a protocol’s token members of an unincorporated association? Is banning open-source software an attack on free speech?

Those are the questions before a U.S. court in Austin, Texas, as a lawsuit from a group of crypto engineers and investors in response to sanctions placed on the Tornado Cash protocol comes closer to having its day in court.

In a court filing from late Wednesday, the plaintiffs argued that the U.S. Department of Treasury sanctions against the privacy protocol violates the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) by failing to correctly identify a foreign “national” and “property” related to Tornado Cash, and by not demonstrating sanctionable interest in immutable, open-source smart contracts.

“The Department has failed to establish that the immutable smart contracts

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