Criminal liability of secure nodes?


Hi all,

I am planning to set up a secure node in the Netherlands, big fan of ZenCash, but was wondering what the legality is of such kind of nodes? There have been reports that for example, bitcoin mixers have raised gov’s suspicion ( and Dash has taken a law firm to research the legality of their masternodes (, but unfortunately do not present conclusive answers for the future. Wondering how things are for the ZenCash secure nodes?


I’m completely speaking from ignorance but I would assume node operators are no more liable than miners are. And I’ve never heard of miners being charged with any sort of financial crime for being the one to mine a block containing an illegal transaction.

I’d imagine the only way to prosecute would be to prosecute the entire network as a criminial network of sorts. No idea if thats even possible. Also with secure nodes being set up in dozens of countries, the network is essentially censorship resistant, unless some new world order is ushered in.


I guess you are right as mining is performing a similar task, albeit through a different process. Having looked into this a bit more I guess similar rules apply to secure notes as the rules applied to ISP’s where the provider cannot be held accountable for the data that is being sent over the network. However, the difference is that they do not store data, which is the case with secure/master nodes. Hosting illegal content is not allowed, so I wonder what would happen when ZenPub is integrated, although from what I understand from the whitepaper ZenPub is an indexing application rather than the actual host (which is GNUnet net). Hope someone can confirm this :slight_smile:


@Maru this is an excellent question we should probably spin the legal team up on clarifying. From my uninformed perspective, i can’t see how sec node operators would be held liable for anything. They’re really just performing the service of hosting a full node and enabling TLS for client-node encryption. These might be crimes in North Korea, but can’t imagine them being such in the U.S. or EU. Thanks for supporting the project!


From my point of view, in the very unlikely and worst case scenario that some modern country did decide to crack down on zen nodes, this will be published and announced first. And if I draw a parallel with how illegal downloads of copyrighted content are handled, the action if caught will be to send you a ‘cease and desist’ notice rather than penalise you directly.


According to the documentation the nodes use TLS. I ran the following:

openssl ciphers -v | awk ‘{print $2}’ | sort | uniq

(credit to this URL:

and found the ciphers supported are SSLv3 and TLSv1.2. It’s not clear why both would be supported, unless perhaps there’s an export limitation on TLSv1.2 in some locations where nodes might be installed.

Using TLS and also having a valid certificate as a compliance test, which, when failed, prevents the node from participating in the network, might reasonably be argued as a best-efforts attempt at securing the environment. Perhaps having a prominent area where relevant security notices are posted, in addition to sending instructions on any urgent remediation to the registered e-mail address in a node’s configuration?


some people think secure nodes are necessary to create shielded transactions - they are not. Secure nodes are nodes on the zencash network which are operated in a way to improve the ability to operate as positive contributing elements of the cryptocurrency network. They don’t do any special processing, host content, or do other things unknown to the operators.

Hopefully that helps.


This is a very good question indeed. But my worries are for something different. What if your node was found to run or process a transaction associated with a terrorist susspect… Could they possibly come after you in US or western countries for faciilitating terrorism. I love Zen Cash and I want to set up a node but I would like to know the ramificatiions. Maybe my question and is valid or maybe not I don’t know but I would like to. What is the communities thoughts.