Cardano founder Charles Hoskinson says the U.S. government’s ban on Tornado Cash sets a dangerous regulatory precedent.
Charles Hoskinson Cardano founder: it could be a violation of free speech
Earlier this month, the U.S. Treasury Department banned Americans from using the crypto-shuffling service Tornado cash, citing national security concerns, as the agency says the protocol has been used to launder $7 billion in crypto assets since 2019.
Charles Hoskinson, the co-founder of blockchain platform Cardano then came forward and criticized the US government.
In an AMA video, Hoskinson tells his 315,000 YouTube subscribers that sanctioning a code because it is misused could be a violation of free speech. Charles Hoskinson said:
The protocol in the developer understanding that we have as developers is that when we write code, it’s expression. As long as we’re not involved in executing and using that code for purposes, we’re just writing it, it’s like writing a book.
So for example, you could write a book saying ‘This is how to make cyanide. [or] ‘Here’s how to make a bomb’, that kind of thing, and for the most part, it’s just words. You don’t tell people to go do that.
At the same time, he stressed that developers should not be to blame for the use malicious actors may make of the designed protocol:
The developer understanding protocol that we have as developers is that when we write code, it’s an expression. As long as we’re not involved in the execution and use of that code for purposes, we’re just writing it, it’s like writing a book.
Cardano’s founder argues that software developers are responsible for how their software is used, whether they can control it or not, which sets an extremely dangerous precedent.
For example, if you want to go very far to the extreme, the developers of the Linux kernel create the kernel of an operating system. North Korea could take that kernel, build a proprietary operating system, and use it as the operating system for an ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile).
So hypothetically, you could say that the maintainers of the Linux kernel are contributing to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. You could say that, if you wanted to.
So of course that’s absurd. But the problem is that the same legal structure that would allow you to infer fault on the developer of Tornado Cash if he wasn’t involved in the use and operation of the system, he just wrote the code, could technically be used that way.”