The suspicious activity appears to be an ongoing joke to question the unique Tornado Cash sanctions that prevent all Americans from using a decentralized crypto-mixing service.
Periodic 0.1 Ether (ETH) transactions emerge from the smart contract to well-known individuals like Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong and American television host Jimmy Fallon, one day after the U.S. Treasury imposed sanctions on cryptocurrency mixer Tornado Cash for its alleged involvement in cryptocurrency money laundering operations.
The Tornado Cash architecture makes it impossible to identify the origin of the transactions, therefore either one person or a number of people or groups could be involved in the operation.
Sanctions prevent any U.S. individuals or organizations from doing blockchain or commercial transactions utilizing Tornado Cash’s smart contract addresses. Willful disobedience is punishable by fines of $50,000 to $10,000,000 and jail terms of 10 to 30 years.
The regularity of the transactions suggests that the sender(s) may be initiating a prank to draw the attention of law enforcement to the recipients. The Treasury sanctions, however, call for “willful” interaction with the blacklisted smart contract addresses as a prerequisite for any legal action. It is therefore improbable that receiving Tornado Cash tokens for free, without their knowledge or consent, could be considered a violation of the sanctions.
Alchemy and Infura.io, two Web3 development platforms, joined stablecoin issuer Circle and programming repository vault GitHub in blocking access to the sanctioned Tornado Cash addresses and front-end application. Tornado Cash made an effort to allay long-standing worries that its platform was being exploited by bad hackers to launder stolen cryptocurrency payments by blocking unauthorized wallets from using the application.
Roman Semenov, a co-founder of the project, claimed at the time that the instrument simply restricts access to the DApp interface and not the underlying smart contract.