Canadian Police to block cryptocurrency transactions amid truckers protest
In an attempt to block funding of the Freedom Convoy protest in Canada, the Canadian police RCMP have sent letters to crypto exchanges effectively ordering them to stop donations to the protesters.
The Freedom Convoy, Canadian truckers protesting against vaccine mandates and passports by occupying the nation’s capital Ottawa and other important infrastructure, is continuing to constitute a threat to the Canadian government and its mandate policies.
Some organizations and individuals in support of the truckers have organized and collected donations to bring financial help to the truckers and their families. Initially, many of the donations came through crowdfunding services such as GoFundMe, which soon blocked further donations and froze accounts.
HonkHonkHodl raised $1 million in BTC
As one would have expected, people then turned to cryptocurrency donations to circumvent the crowdfunding platforms, as well as using direct deposits to individual bank accounts. A fundraising effort named HonkHonkHodl has allegedly succeeded in raising nearly $1 million in bitcoin (BTC).
To stop donations through crypto transactions and bank deposits, and backed by the newly invoked Canadian Emergencies Act, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, RCMP, have sent letters to cryptocurrency exchanges ordering them to stop all crypto transactions headed towards truckers and any entities associated with them. Specifically, the RCMP sent exchanges a list of 34 crypto addresses to block.
The list purportedly includes 29 bitcoin wallets, two Ethereum (ETH) wallets, as well Litecoin (LTC), Monero (XMR), and Cardano (ADA) wallets. The wallets are said to contain about 25 BTC worth $1.4 million.
Exchanges must “cease facilitating any transactions”
The RCMP letter sent to the cryptocurrency exchanges, and obtained by the Canadian news outlet The Globe and Mail, notes that both the RCMP and the Ontario Provincial Police are investigating cryptocurrency donations “in relation to illegal acts falling under the scope of the Emergency Measures Act.” The letter instructs the exchange operators to “cease facilitating any transactions”.
“Any information about a transaction or proposed transaction in respect of these address(es), is to be disclosed immediately to the Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police,” the letter continues.
The Canadian Emergencies Act was enacted in the 1980’s to be used under extreme circumstances threatening the Canadian nation and people. The law has never been used until it was invoked on Monday by prime minister Justin Trudeau. The law was invoked because it gives law enforcement additional powers to respond to ongoing blockades and protests.
How effective can the measures be?
The RCMP has also sent letters to financial institutions, including banks, listing the names of people who have been designated as involved in illegal acts tied to the demonstrations, according to Mathieu Labrèche, a spokesperson for the Canadian Bankers Association
“All financial service providers, including banks, covered by the federal Emergencies Act will need to diligently implement the required measures, as stipulated by the government in the corresponding Emergency Economic Measures Order, which are not expected to impact the vast majority of customers,” Mr. Labrèche said in an e-mailed statement to The Globe and Mail.
The question at hand is to what extent these measures will be effective. As long as people don’t use custodial crypto accounts at exchanges there’s basically no way of stopping transactions, and to list banned wallets isn’t very effective either as it is easy to just create new addresses. As many observers have noted, it’s only in the “last mile”, exchanging crypto to fiat currency, that these measures can have any meaningful effect.