CANADA’S FREEDOM CONVOY PROTEST AND THE GOVERNMENT’S FREEZE ON BANK ACCOUNTS AND CRYTPO EXCHANGES
For the past several weeks some Canadian citizens have been opposing certain Canadian restrictions and mandates in relation to the recent pandemic. And these individuals have taken protests up a level from marching on a street to occupying a capital city. Ottawa, in particular. Thousands of people in hundreds of vehicles haven taken part in what is being called the Freedom Convoy. These individuals have driven to Ottawa and they haven’t left since.
These people are wanting freedom from mandates and they are willing to sacrifice their physical and financial stability for it.
They are not just marching on the streets and shouting chants about overcoming, they are vowing to stay until Canada lifts all mandates related to this latest pandemic. These people are not stressed while occupying, they are not crying while occupying, and they are not worrying while occupying. They have created a “giant, perpetual street party” for freedom from mandates. They are lounging in hot tubs, hosting rock concerts, barbecuing in front of government buildings and their children are playing in inflatable bounce houses. That is as nonviolent as it gets.
And the police have had difficulty stopping them. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared a state of emergency. Under this emergency power, the Canadian government has the power to use physical and financial might to stop the protestors.
Even after several arrests, these freedom fighters (as they see themselves) are not stopping. Going to jail is a risk I would assume they considered before embarking on this historic movement of challenge to government authority on individual freedoms.
The government is a dominating beast empowered by the fears and hopes of many citizens. But when the beast we have created begin to create laws that we believe are hurtful, unnecessary, and unreasonable to individual freedoms, sometimes this calls for the very creators of the system to turn on the system. And this is what the Freedom Convoy feels has to be done to bring power back to the people.
It makes you wonder is true power with the people or with the few in government that the people empowered?
Are you really free?
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked the Emergency Act in Canada which allows the government to prevent these non-violent protestors from participating in the traditional financial system. These means, these non-violent protestors can’t access their money in the bank. If they go to Wells Fargo to withdraw the money they deposited from their last paycheck, Wells Fargo will say “no, that fiat money belongs to the government, not you. ACCESS DENIED”
Basically the Canadian Emergency Act can censor or suspend payments, and freeze citizens’ bank accounts, and the government can do this WITHOUT DUE PROCESS, which means the government doesn’t have to go through the courts to issue these orders. This is the authority the people gave to a few and it was memorialized in the Emergency Act. Interestingly, this Emergency Act was enacted in 1988. It’s actually called the 1988 Emergencies Act. This act replaced the War Measures Act that was passed in 1914.
The purpose of the Act was to give the government authority to respond to urgent and critical situations that are not able to be dealt with by any existing laws or that is beyond the capability of the government to deal with or threatens the sovereignty of Canada. The governments’ response to the Freedom Convoy is the first time this Act has been invoked.
Protestors raised over $10 million through GoFundMe, but the company refused to release the funds citing, “unlawful activity” and instead returned the funds to the donors.
The donors wanted to support a cause they believe in using fiat money and the third-party intermediary system. The donors used a third-party intermediary, GoFundMe, to make the donation, and now GoFundMe after accepting the funds is now refusing to hand the money over to the protestors in which the donors donated the money to, citing “unlawful activity.”
Interesting, invoke a law after the fact that make the facts that occurred before the law invoked illegal. What absolute powers the many have enabled to a few!
Now under the Emergency Act, the government are attempting to freeze 34 crypto wallets associated with the Freedom Convoy. These 34 wallets include 29 Bitcoin wallets, 2 Ethereum wallets, a Litecoin wallet, a Monero wallet, and a Cardano wallet. These wallets contain about 25 Bitcoin and is worth around $1.4 million.
According to some reports, the Canadian authorities are “investigating cryptocurrency donations being collected in relation to illegal acts falling under the scope of the Emergency Measures Act.”
These Canadian authorities are not suggesting that they can freeze the wallets directly. But they aim to cause FINTRAC-regulated companies from accepting funds from those wallets, which causes the holders of the wallets from cashing out their crypto on regulated exchanges.
The Canadian government stated in clear terms that it would use its freezing and suspension power on both cryptocurrency and traditional banking transactions. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland stated that the Emergency Act covers “ all forms of transactions, including digital assets such as cryptocurrencies.”
Blocking Bitcoin payments is not as easy as going to Wells Fargo and saying freeze Citizen A’s accounts. Bitcoin transactions are peer-to-peer and they are almost impossible to censor, freeze or seize. One of the benefits to the Bitcoin model is the concept of “censorship resistance.” This is the very reason Bitcoin was created in the first place.
HONHONKHodl is a fundraising effort that has raised nearly $1 million in Bitcoin. These movement organizers are in the process of distributing these funds directly to individuals. The use of cryptocurrency donations is becoming increasingly popular.
Although freezing or seizing peer-to-peer transactions is nearly impossible, its not impossible for the government to seize crypto held on centralized exchanges.
Jesse Powell who is Kraken’s CEO. Kraken is a centralized crypto exchange where you can buy, sell and trade crypto. Jesse Powell has criticized the Canadian government for seizing funds from the Freedom Convoy protestors’ bank accounts. But Kraken’s CEO also warned his crypto holders, to “get your coins out.” He says crypto holders need to remove their coins from centralized exchanges and keep them in self-custody wallets.
Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase, also tweeted concerns over the government’s actions in Canada and he also reiterated the importance of moving your crypto funds from exchanges like Coinbase into self-custodial wallets like Coinbase Wallet or Metamask.
The major difference between a self-custodial wallet and an exchange like Kraken or Coinbase is that a self-custody wallets gives you complete control over your crypto. So the private key that represents ownership of the crypto is stored directly on your mobile device or computer and not with a centralized exchange like Gemini or Coinbase. When you hold your crypto on these types of exchange, the exchange company can access your crypto if ordered by the government. But once you move your crypto from these exchanges to a self-custody wallet like Wallet or MetaMask or a cold wallet like a ledger, you hold your private key either on your mobile device or offline.
Kraken’s CEO Justin Powell tweeted, “Due process is for plebs. Might makes right in Canada.”
Is Canada’s response to the Freedom Convoy a perfect example why Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are needed in such a time as this?
It’s time we empower “community currencies,” and cryptocurrencies maybe how this can be done.
ABOUT THE BLOGGER
La Shon Y. Fleming Bruce a/k/a SHONSPEAKS is a blogger, speaker, and lead creator of freeyourthinkingmind.com. I am also a lawyer and managing member of The Fleming-Bruce Law Firm, P.L.L.C. If you want to check out more of my writings that may not be released on this site, go over to my website at freeyourthinkingmind.com
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