'Bitcoin Senator' Cynthia Lummis Blasts DOJ Stance on Private Crypto Wallets



United States Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) has stated that she is “deeply troubled” by the Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) stance on non-custodial software.

In a tweet, Lummis expressed concern at the DOJ’s “hyper-aggressive argument that non-custodial software can constitute a money transmission service.” She added that the DOJ’s stance “contradicts existing Treasury guidance,” and “violates the rule of law.”

“Arguments against self-custody software threaten the fundamental property rights that are core to being an American,” Lummis said, adding that she will fight “for your rights to hold your own keys and run your own node.” She further accused the Biden Administration of “criminalizing core tenants of the Bitcoin network and decentralized finance.”

Lummis’ comments follow two recent cases where DOJ prosecutors have pushed for criminal charges against software developers for unlicensed money transmission: an unsealed indictment against Bitcoin mixer Samourai Wallet, and a reply brief responding to the defense’s motion to dismiss in the case against Tornado Cash developer Roman Storm.

The DOJ’s interpretation of money transmission laws, encompassing wallet developers who have no direct control over user assets, has sparked a backlash among the crypto community.

Crypto advocacy group Coin Center has characterized the DOJ’s stance as “a massive overreach,” arguing that it contradicts existing FinCEN guidance and rulings.

In a blog post, Coin Center’s director of research Peter Van Valkenburgh claimed the DOJ’s position would mean that “every functioning cryptocurrency wallet and smart contract is ‘doing’ money transmission and every developer is engaged in unlicensed money transmission.”

The group has filed an amicus brief in defense of Roman Storm, arguing that the publication of Tornado Cash’s code is constitutionally protected under the First Amendment.

Edited by Andrew Hayward





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