GitHub, the most widely used software hosting online platform, has today reversed its decision to completely ban Tornado Cash’s open source code. However, despite lifting the ban, the functionality of the code repositories remains restricted to “read-only” allowing visitors to only open and read the code.
The move comes days after the US Treasury clarified that the sanctions against Tornado Cash did not apply to the sharing and reading of the app’s code.
Tornado Cash ban
Tornado Cash was launched in 2019 as a privacy-preserving tool aimed at shielding users’ financial activities on public blockchains like Ethereum.
The use of Tornado Cash and certain Ethereum addresses connected to the app was blacklisted by the US Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) in August. The OFAC cited the app’s use by criminals for money laundering.
It was after the blacklisting by the OFAC that GitHub banned and removed the entire Tornado Cash code to remain compliant with the regulator.
Why did GitHub reverse its Tornado Cash ban?
However, the US Treasury on September 13 clarified that the blacklisting of Tornado Cash did not prohibit people from reading and sharing the app’s code.
The official post by the US Treasury read:
“US persons would not be prohibited by U.S. sanctions regulations from copying the open-source code and making it available online for others to view, as well as discussing, teaching about, or including open-source code in written publications.”
It is following this clarification that GitHub has modified its blanket ban on the app’s code although the full functionality of Tornado Cash on GitHub has not been reinstated.