Research Idea: What percentage of deposits come from "illicit" activities?

I think it would be interesting to fund a research team (external or internal) to find out what percentage of Tornado Cash deposits come from “illicit” activities.

Chainalysis assumes 8% for mixing services in general, but one has to consider that these figures are already from 2019 - and should have decreased even further since then.

Unfortunately, all too often you see on Twitter how new (and perhaps naive) members of the Ethereum community perceive Tornado’s only utility in laundering money - something that couldn’t be further from the truth.

What do you think about this idea?


I think that’d be a great thing to research. I think that it would be better to simply define some non-judgemental categories of usage types, and figure out how best to bucket deposits into those categories.

Instead of only focusing on negative usage, we could try to include usage such as by protest movements, journalists, PoS node operators, etc.

It might be interesting to see if we could get some self-reported information from users about why they’re using TC. We could construct a zero knowledge circuit that enables users to select from an enumeration of usage types, attached privately to their note nullifier(s).