Ksenia Malik, wife of Tornado Cash creator Alexey Pertsev Wife has lashed out at Dutch authorities for treating her husband as a “dangerous criminal” following his arrest last week.
The Dutch Tax Information and Investigation Service (FIOD) arrested Pertsev on August 12 for an alleged use of the Ethereum-based privacy tool to launder money and hide criminal financial flows.
Speaking to Cointelegraph, Malik confirmed that Pertsev remains in the hands of Dutch authorities and has not had the chance to contact him since he was put behind bars.
“He is being held in prison as if he were a dangerous criminal,” Malik said, as she expressed her concern that Pertsev was arrested without warning over what she sees as a harmless activity:
“It’s very unexpected to me that a person could be arrested for writing open source code.”
Malik said she “can only guess how he feels and how difficult it is for him right now,” as Dutch authorities have completely barred her [or anyone] from any contact with him, not even “a short conversation.”
Despite feeling helpless in this regard, Malik is not without support. Decentralized finance (DeFi) aggregator 1inch has organized a rally in Amsterdam August 20, to show support for Pertsev and stand up for developers’ rights to create open source software.
1inch has been particularly vocal on the issue, saying Pertsev’s arrest threatens to “set a dangerous precedent” as it could “kill the entire open source software segment” if developers are held responsible for software they create that is misused by others .
1/ Is it really a crime to be open source? #blockchain developer today ⁉️
Stand up for the right to build open source software!
Help Alex Pertsev get out of prison!
Why is it important⤵️ pic.twitter.com/CqqD4Ds8AQ
— 1 inch mesh (@1 inch) 18 August 2022
In light of 1inch’s efforts and the broader crypto community, Malik said she is “very grateful to everyone who helps and supports my husband” as it proves that “people really care.”
Malik also hopes that the rally will not only draw attention to Pertsev’s injustice, but also positively influence public opinion about the nature of open source:
“We want to achieve publicity so that as many people as possible will know about the arrest and the reasons for its failure. This is a serious problem, as any open source developer and many other people could be affected by this accusation.”
However, Pertsev’s arrest has not been completely ruled out. Venture capitalist Kevin O’Leary stated in a recent interview that crypto privacy tools like Tornado Cash are part of a “crypto cowboy” culture that is “messing with regulatory forces”. While he goes on to describe Pertsev’s arrest as a necessary one.
“If we have to sacrifice him, that’s fine, because we want to have some stability in the institutional capital,” he said.
Related: Tornado Cash sanctions will undermine US and strengthen crypto
Prior to the arrest, the US Office of Foreign Asset Control barred US residents from interacting with Tornado Cash on August 8 due to growing concerns that it was being used to launder money. The US Treasury Department believes Tornado Cash has facilitated more than $7 billion in money laundering activity since Pertsev created Tornado Cash in 2019.