Canadian federal law enforcement agencies, along with the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Center of Canada (FINTRAC), have begun investigating donations made to Freedom Convoy protestors, including those that were made using bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. On Wednesday, the Ontario Provincial Police and Royal Canadian Mounted Police ordered all regulated financial firms to stop transactions from 34 crypto wallets that have been associated with the protests.
The Freedom Convoy protests, which started over two weeks ago, were launched by truckers who are opposed to the country’s COVID-related mandates. The protests were deemed illegal under the Emergencies Act invoked by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. In a press conference on Monday, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said that banks can immediately freeze or suspend bank accounts without a court order and without fear of civil liability. She added that this move against the protesters will broaden the scope of “Terrorist Financing” rules to allow them to target “crowdfunding platforms and the payment service providers they use.” This appears to be the impetus for sanctioning the crypto wallets associated with the protests.
Over the first several days of the protest, the convoy received strong support through popular crowdfunding platform GoFundMe, collecting more than $9 million from donors around the world. However, GoFundMe shut down their fundraiser and redistributed the funds to donors. In response, a Tallycoin fundraiser was launched and received nearly 20 BTC, worth approximately $881,000 at today’s price. The leaders of the Tallycoin account voluntarily deactivated the fundraiser on Monday, announcing on Twitter that they had “raised above and beyond their goal.”
They also clarified via tweet that “the Multisig quorum has changed” to protect those who were public about holding keys to the funds.
Nonetheless, Canadian law enforcement agencies and FINTRAC have identified and targeted a list of crypto wallets tied to the protests. According to a copy of the order circulating on Twitter, the list includes 29 Bitcoin addresses, one Ethereum address, one Cardano address, one Ethereum Classic address, one Litecoin address, and one Monero address.