Canadian Judge Rules Freezing Protestor’s Crypto Donation Unconstitutional

The Federal Court of Canada reportedly ruled that an emergency law that allowed the Canadian government to stop the flow of funds and crypto to protesting truckers was unreasonable and unconstitutional.

In a landmark decision in January 2024, the Canadian federal judge mentioned that there was no national emergency invocation of the emergency law, which gave the government the power to freeze assets.

 Overview

Justice Richard Mosley emphasised that such extreme measures should only be used as a last resort when alternative solutions are exhausted. This ruling came after the government utilised the law for the first time in February 2022, under Prime Minister Justine Trudeau, to curb financial support to truckers protesting COVID-19 mandates, which the court found was unconstitutional. The Emergency Act aims to freeze funds, including cryptocurrencies connected to the trucker protest. 

These protestors were part of the so-called “Freedom Convoy” who used trucks to block streets in the nation’s capital, Ottawa, to protest against a mandate requiring truck drivers crossing the Canada- United States border to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The Freedom Convoy strategically used trucks to obstruct streets in Ottawa as part of resistance against COVID-19 vaccine mandates for truck drivers. The government claimed that the protests constituted an illegal occupation, but the recent court ruling challenged the necessity of invoking the Emergencies Act.

 Impact and Implications of the Court’s Ruling

 Various groups, including the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) and the Canadian Constitution Foundation, challenged the government’s decision to use the emergency law. They argued that using the law to freeze funds, including crypto donations, was unnecessary and unconstitutional. 

Following the court’s decision, the CCLA suggested that this judgement sets a clear and significant precedent for every future government action. Mosley said, “The government cannot invoke the Emergencies Act because it is convenient or because it may work better than other tools at their disposal or available to the provinces.”

Despite this ruling, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland has announced the government’s intention to appeal the verdict.

 The Role of Crypto in the Trucker Protests

 Crypto played a crucial role in funding the 2022 trucker protests, with protestors estimated to have received millions of dollars in support through various platforms. The exact amount remains uncertain due to the challenges in tracking decentralised digital assets. In February 2022, GoFundMe, a prominent fundraising platform, froze more than $9 million in donations for the protests. Leading organisers then moved their efforts to Tallycoin, a crowdfunding platform built on the BTC blockchain. 

These platforms saw substantial donations, where the HonkHonk Hodl group raised over 22 BTC, and GiveSendGo garnered over $8 million for the truckers, including unspecified amounts in crypto. Canadian authorities later froze GiveSendGo accounts connected to donations. Crypto executives, including the founder of Kraken, Jesse Powell, criticised the government’s freeze of digital assets.

Powell posted:

Due process is for plebs. It might be right in Canada. If someone dissents, you just confiscate their wealth, revoke their licences, exclude them from the financial system and kill their pets. No need to debate the law, policy or even rights when you have a monopoly on violence.” 

In March 2023, The Giving Block, a crypto charity platform, collected data that showed that crypto donations are set to exceed $10 billion in the next decade. According to the platform, in 2022, all-time crypto donations surpassed $125 million. The crypto charity project predicted that by August 2027, it could top $1 billion, in June 2031, reach $5 billion and, in November 2032, exceed the $10 billion mark. The predictions by The Giving Block were based on its analysis of the BTC price trajectory.

In 2022, The Giving Block revealed six charities that have benefited from the crypto donations. One of the benefits of the donation from Vive Church’s Finance Director, Aaron Williams, said, “Crypto is the only asset that people seem to be super passionate about. I get phone calls and texts about it constantly from donors.” Williams concluded, “I didn’t expect as much passion around it. But I believe that their passion drives generosity.”

 The Role Crypto Donations Play Globally

Crypto donations amplified the speed and global reach during the crisis; in February, during the devastating earthquakes that hit parts of Syria and Turkey, $5.9 million of crypto donations were made to support relief efforts in the region. Chainalysis, a blockchain analytics firm, revealed that crypto transactions provide quick monetary support during times of crisis because of the speed of transactions.

Chainalysis director of research Kim Grauer highlighted that crypto is an ideal technology for raising funds and getting them where they are needed quickly and instantaneously. Blockchain transparency is unique and provides aid to organisations in tracking donations. In 2012, the Philippines received crypto donations when Typhoon Haiyan ravaged them.

The Federal Court of Canada’s decision rejects the government’s use of emergency powers and highlights the role of cryptocurrency.

Fhumulani Lukoto Cryptocurrency Journalist

Fhumulani Lukoto holds a Bachelors Degree in Journalism enabling her to become the writer she is today. Her passion for cryptocurrency and bitcoin started in 2021 when she began producing content in the space. A naturally inquisitive person, she dove head first into all things crypto to gain the huge wealth of knowledge she has today. Based out of Gauteng, South Africa, Fhumulani is a core member of the content team at Coin Insider.

View all posts by Fhumulani Lukoto >

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