Canada’s government is expanding its crackdown on donations to protestors objecting to vaccine mandates in Ottawa. In new efforts, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have ordered crypto exchanges to not facilitate transactions with blockchain addresses linked to the movement.
Following The Money
As reported by The Counter Signal on Wednesday, FINTRAC companies in Canada have been ordered to cease transactions with 34 specific crypto addresses. These include 1 Monero, Litecoin, and Cardano address, two Ethereum addresses, and 29 Bitcoin addresses.
Each address can be viewed in the RCMP’s recent statement to crypto exchanges, as revealed by a Bitcoin news desk yesterday. The order is to address “illegal acts” falling under the “Emergencies Act” invoked by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau days ago. It gives the government power to freeze bank accounts suspected of involvement with the trucker convoy – without a court order.
“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,” reads RCMP’s statement.
The 9th address listed was the one used in the “Bitcoin For Truckers” campaign. The fundraiser collected over $900,000 in Bitcoin dedicated to the truckers and has since dispersed it to various addresses as part of its distribution process.
Other orders from Canadian authorities have required the Tallycoin page that hosted the fundraiser to be taken down. However, since the donation process was Bitcoin native, users can still send Bitcoin to the relevant address – just not as conveniently.
On Monday, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland announced that crowdfunding platforms using cryptocurrencies now need to report large, suspicious transactions to FINTRAC.
Bitcoin’s Real World Test
Bitcoin was specifically designed to bypass financial censorship from third-party intermediaries using peer-to-peer transactions. As such, even if exchanges blacklist a set of addresses, this does nothing to prevent users from sending Bitcoin to and from one another.
Things become a bit more complicated when attempting to convert Bitcoin into dollars – which usually requires a regulated exchange. In that case, the truckers may resort to peer-to-peer cash exchanges or Bitcoin ATMs to facilitate fiat conversion. They may also use mixing services like CoinJoin to erase their money trail on the blockchain and preserve their privacy.
Ultimately, the trucker fundraiser presents a case study of how well Bitcoin can evade censorship for a specific cause when targeted by a Western government.