Well-known cryptocurrency advocates worldwide have called out Canadian authorities for seizing millions in bitcoin and other digital currencies amid the ongoing protests against COVID-19 restrictions and vaccine policies.
Court Signs Order to Seize Bitcoin and Monitor Crypto Wallet
The Toronto Star reported that a court order had been issued to freeze bank accounts and digital wallets involved in fundraising efforts geared towards aiding “Freedom Convoy” protesters in Canada.
According to the coverage, Superior Court Justice Calum MacLeod signed the order late on Thursday (February 17, 2022) and instructed financial service providers to halt all transactions connected to the protest’s efforts.
Sources confirmed that money service businesses, banks, fundraising platforms, cryptocurrency exchanges, and decentralized wallets all fall under the purview of MacLeod’s court ruling.
Since the court order, authorities have reportedly seized over $1 million of protester funds, made up of fiat currency in bank accounts, bitcoin (BTC), and other digital assets in wallets.
The news comes after Canadian Prime Minister Justine Trudeau invoked the Emergency Act on Monday, February 14, 2022, in a bid to stop protestors from raising funds through cryptocurrency.
Through Prime Minister Trudeau’s decision, local regulatory agencies received the authority to monitor large crypto transactions and freeze bank accounts.
Crypto Proponents Respond
Popular bitcoin advocate Anthony Pompliano has likened Canada’s crypto crackdown to previous actions taken by the Chinese government.
El Salvador President Nayib Bukele also commented on the situation in Canada via a tweet, stating that the country was enacting a war against freedom while falsely preaching freedom of the press to other countries.
They are directly threatening journalists with arrest.
Aren’t they the ones lecturing other countries about freedom of the press?
Will any country on earth accept these lectures anymore? https://t.co/Huxi2e2hOH
— Nayib Bukele 🇸🇻 (@nayibbukele) February 18, 2022
In addition, CEO of crypto exchange Kraken, Jesse Powell, expressed concerns that the platform could be forced to freeze assets and restrict user access. Powell said in a tweet:
“100% yes it has/will happen and 100% yes, we will be forced to comply. If you’re worried about it, don’t keep your funds with any centralized/regulated custodian. We cannot protect you. Get your coins/cash out and only trade p2p.”
Crypto Censorship in Other Jurisdictions
Although it remains unclear if Canadian authorities will continue the current crackdown on digital currencies in the future, the North American country joins a list of jurisdictions with policies geared towards censoring crypto.
As previously reported by CryptoPotato, China’s central bank proposed a legislature to restrict banking and payment organizations from interacting with such assets. Countries like India and Pakistan have also announced plans to implement a complete nationwide ban on cryptocurrencies.