Monero’s core team removes critical access after former lead maintainer’s arrest

  • Fluffypony who is currently behind bars said that there’s been some misunderstanding with the 2011 case.
  • The developer team removed critical access after fears that authorities could extract crucial information from fluffypony.

Monero’s core developer team has initiated strong measures on blockchain access after the asset of Monero’s former lead maintainer Riccardo Spagni, popular as Fluffypony. The arrest happened last month in Nashville, Tennessee over allegations of fraud for offenses conducted between 2009-2011 in South Africa.

While this certainly doesn’t have any connection with the Monero network, developers are still taking preventive measures. Monero developer Jeremie Dubois-Lacoste or binaryFate was the first to respond to this news. In a series of tweets on Tuesday, August 3, binaryFate noted:

In light of @fluffypony‘s being offline and in custody, the Monero core team has removed all his admin and write permissions over Monero repos. I’ve also just moved the 5577 XMR from the General Fund to another wallet he has no access to. I see it as a likely temporary measure. Anyway, In the mean time I’ll make myself accountable for tightening any security issue stemming from the current situation.

The Monero developer explicitly mentioned the reason behind removing the critical access. He believes that authorities can pressurize Fluffypony while in custody. So there’s a fear that he might reveal crucial details to them.

The American regulators have been looking for ways to break into the privacy-focused blockchain network Monero. The regulators believe that Monero’s XMR cryptocurrency is the source for conducting all illicit transactions. Thus, they feel that XMR could harm the country’s national security.

Besides, the Bitcoin seizure by the FBI back in June during the Colonial Pipeline hack, the hackers have now turned to privacy-centric Monero.

Fluffypony calls it a misunderstanding

Riccardo Spagni aka Fluffypony has got in touch with the Monero community through his wife’s Saskia Pagni’s Twitter handle. The message from Fluffypony reads:

Unfortunately, due to a misunderstanding with regards to the setting of court dates in an old matter, which I have continuously been trying to resolve since 2011. I have been held in contempt of court and currently awaiting extradition. I am hoping to resolve this misunderstanding within a short while. In the meantime my business affairs will continue under the leadership of my partners.

His lawyers have also confirmed that the arrest has been due to Spagni’s failure to attend court on due dates. The filings noted that the COVID-19 pandemic and Spagni’s existing medical conditions as the reason behind missing the dates.

As of now, Spagni is currently in the custody of the U.S. Attorney General. Interestingly, it turns out that Spagni’s recent arrest has no reason for any crypto-related crime. Rather, Fluffypony is facing charges of stealing over $100,000 from his former employer, Cape Cookies.

He also charges with generating false invoices from fictional entities and then routing the payments to his personal bank accounts.

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