Decentralized Mixer Tornado Cash Makes Its User Interface Open-Source

The privacy protocol is stepping up transparency by inviting more eyeballs to review code.

AccessTimeIconJul 7, 2022 at 5:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Aug 19, 2022 at 12:47 p.m. UTC

Frederick Munawa is a Technology Reporter for Coindesk. He covers blockchain protocols with a specific focus on bitcoin and bitcoin-adjacent networks.

Today, the Tornado Cash community announced a fully open-sourced user interface (UI) for Tornado Cash Classic. This means any public contributor interested in improving the design can simply review the code and make pull requests through its GitHub. The move is in line with the community’s efforts to prioritize decentralization, transparency and security.

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A screenshot of the Tornado Cash Classic UI (Tornado Cash homepage)

What is Tornado Cash and how does it work?

Tornado Cash is a decentralized mixer protocol that enables private transactions on Ethereum. Mixers are smart contracts that accept, pool and mix cryptocurrency from multiple senders in order to increase privacy by obscuring potential audit trails. Users send ether to the Tornado Cash smart contract and upon withdrawal, that ether is sent to a new public address that has no link to the sending address.

Why focusing on UI is critical

The Tornado Cash community is intimately familiar with UI vulnerabilities. In February 2020, a developer discovered a bug that revealed private user details when someone clicked a “share” button from the interface. The bug was quickly resolved and no funds were lost. This is a prime example of how open-source projects benefit from having many eyeballs on a product, which makes it easier to spot and fix vulnerabilities. The irrevocable nature of smart contracts means wallets and mixers like Tornado Cash must make it safe and simple for unsophisticated users to send and receive funds.

In its announcement, Tornado Cash emphasized, “We personally grew fond of the black and green floating astronaut associated with the protocol. However, you should know our credo by now: We will always lean towards more decentralization.”

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Frederick Munawa is a Technology Reporter for Coindesk. He covers blockchain protocols with a specific focus on bitcoin and bitcoin-adjacent networks.

CoinDesk - Unknown

Frederick Munawa is a Technology Reporter for Coindesk. He covers blockchain protocols with a specific focus on bitcoin and bitcoin-adjacent networks.