Category Archives: Cryptocurrency

Canadian Authorities Find They Are Unable to Seize Bitcoin Donations Made to Freedom Convoy Protesters

Arsenio Toledo
March 25th, 2022

The Canadian government is attempting to seize all of the funds raised by the anti-Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown and vaccine mandate Freedom Convoy protesters. Unfortunately for them, they are having a hard time retrieving donations made through cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

The measures taken by Canada to suppress the Freedom Convoy protests are considered unprecedented for a supposedly democratic nation. This included the freezing of bank accounts of organizers and individual protesters and the seizing of donations made through crowdfunding websites like GoFundMe. (Related: Canadian government freezes single mom’s bank account after she donated $50 to the Freedom Convoy.)

This is why many organizers and supporters of the Freedom Convoy increasingly turned to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, believing that their detachment from fiat money and Big Tech platforms made them more difficult, if not impossible, to seize by authorities.

According to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and other police services in the province of Ontario, the Freedom Convoy received 20.7 bitcoins ($915,050).

Around 14.6 bitcoins are already considered irretrievable, as they have already been distributed to 101 individual wallets through an intermediary.

According to cryptocurrency transaction trackers, 101 individual wallets received 0.144 bitcoins ($6,360) each, transferred through an intermediary. The roughly 5.964 bitcoins ($263,400) that remained were seized by Canadian authorities and confiscated.

Cryptocurrencies more resilient against government seizure attempts

Back in February, a Canadian judge ordered all digital wallets that held cryptocurrency donations meant for Freedom Convoy organizers to be frozen. Only one wallet provider, Nunchuk, refused the order.

According to Nunchuk, the company designed its systems to make it impossible to freeze users or prevent their assets from being moved or accessed.

“We do not hold any keys,” wrote the company. “Therefore, we cannot freeze our users’ assets. We cannot prevent them from being moved. We do not have knowledge of the existence, nature, value and location of our users’ assets. This is by design.”

Monique Jilesen, a lawyer involved in a class-action lawsuit against the Freedom Convoy organizers, said the government is still able to trace which wallets are receiving the donations. But she lamented the fact that as the bitcoins move from wallet to wallet, it gets harder to seize the funds.

“I presume, although I don’t know, in part, that was done in order to distribute the wallets,” she said. “They’ve taken one big wallet, moved it into hundreds of smaller wallets and then they hand the passwords to that smaller wallet to the ultimate recipient.”

The RCMP refused to comment on the case, but it said in a statement to CBC News that it still has the power to seize digital currency assets.

“As part of its capabilities and plans to tackle crypto crime and track crime-related transactions, the RCMP generally uses a variety of police procedures, as well as collaborating with applicable law enforcement partners,” read the RCMP’s statement.

But Mathew Burgoyne, a Canadian digital currency law expert, claimed that it will be much more complicated for the government to freeze and confiscate bitcoin wallets belonging to unknown holders.

“The limitation is that the crypto can simply be transferred to another wallet address that’s not frozen,” said Burgoyne. “And then another address that’s not frozen, and it can continue to be transferred in an effort to obscure the original source, or in an effort to remove the funds as much as possible from the wallet that was frozen.”

Watch this video as “Vaccine Choice Canada” hosts a panel of experts who attempt to answer the question: Is cryptocurrency the answer to the Canadian government’s penchant for freezing the bank accounts of COVID-19 lockdown and mandate protesters?

BlackRock’s Fink Says Invasion of Ukraine “Accelerates” ESG and Digital Currencies Shift

BlackRock CEO Larry Fink’s annual letter to shareholders has become heavily scrutinized as ones from Berkshire Hathaway chief Warren Buffett and JP Morgan chief Jamie Dimon. Fink is the boss of a $10 trillion asset manager, the world’s largest, and oversees more money than the Fed. Fink told shareholders that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine would fundamentally reshape the world economy and drive up inflation as supply chains are reconfigured.

“The Russian invasion of Ukraine has put an end to the globalization we have experienced over the last three decades,” Fink wrote.

Fink predicted “companies and governments will also be looking more broadly at their dependencies on other nations. This may lead companies to onshore or nearshore more of their operations resulting in a faster pull back from some countries.”

As a result, “a large-scale reorientation of supply chains will inherently be inflationary,” he said, pointing out that even before the conflict broke out in Eastern Europe, the economic effects of the virus pandemic brought US inflation to its highest in four decades.

Today’s inflationary environment, teetering on the verge of stagflation, has put central banks in “difficult decisions about how fast to raise rates. They face a dilemma they haven’t faced in decades, which has been worsened by geopolitical conflict and the resulting energy shocks. Central banks must choose whether to live with higher inflation or slow economic activity and employment to lower inflation quickly,” Fink said.

Like Fink’s last letter to shareholders, he was focused on the firm’s “ESG” and “green technology” commitments. This time around, he said the invasion “will actually accelerate the shift toward greener sources of energy in many parts of the world,” because higher fossil fuel prices will make the transition of renewables financially competitive. 

“We’ve already seen European policymakers promoting investment in renewables as an important component of energy security,” he said. “More than ever, countries that don’t have their own energy sources will need to fund and develop them– which for many will mean investing in wind and solar power.”

In the short-term, alternatives to Russian energy products “will inevitably slow the world’s progress toward net-zero [emissions] in the near term,” he added. BlackRock is the world’s largest asset manager, which has pushed “ESG” policies that harm American fossil fuel companies, basically following the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) script.

On digital currencies, Fink said the Ukrainian conflict has the “potential impact on accelerating digital currencies. The war will prompt countries to re-evaluate their currency dependencies.” He spoke about central bank digital currencies (CBDC) and how they “can enhance the settlement of international transactions while reducing the risk of money laundering and corruption.” Again, Fink is following WEF’s script of implementing new forms of digital currency that will mean governments will have more control over the people.

Fink also praised how global corporate elites banded together following Russia’s invasion and isolated Moscow from the global financial system overnight, paralyzing the country’s economy. He said the private sector demonstrated the power of the capital markets:

“Russia has been essentially cut off from global capital markets, demonstrating the commitment of major companies to operate consistent with core values. This “economic war” shows what we can achieve when companies, supported by their stakeholders, come together in the face of violence and aggression,” he said.

Fink has made clear that the conflict in Ukraine is being used as an accelerator to reorganize the global economy as the old world order crumbles and a multipolar world emerges. Supply chains will be onshored or moved closer to home, and the WEF’s agenda of a green new world, more corporate surveillance, and trackable money are inevitable this decade.

Readers can find Fink’s complete letter here

BREAKING: Biden to Sign Exec Order to Regulate Cryptocurrency

Amber Crawford
March 7th, 2022

Biden will reportedly be signing an executive order later this week which will outline the government’s strategy for cryptocurrencies, marking the first step towards the regulation of digital currency. This initiative, which has been in the works since last year, has been expedited in order to ensure Russia doesn’t try to use crypto to circumvent sanctions levied by the U.S. and its allies.

Detailed information on this order has not been released yet, but is anticipated to inform government agencies on what steps they must take to develop regulations on digital currencies.  Federal agencies will also be required to report what they’re doing in terms of digital tokens later this year.

Bloomberg reports that the order “will direct federal agencies to examine potential regulatory changes, as well as the national security and economic impact of digital assets.”

Additionally, according to Decrypt,

“The executive order will reportedly help coordinate the role of agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodity Futures Trading Commission on cryptocurrency. Industry actors have long complained that guidance from the SEC and other agencies has been unhelpful as they seek to be compliant with U.S. law.”

Russia’s use of digital currency has raised significant concern that the country will use it to evade the recent sanctions which have crippled the ruble and closed the country’s stock market.

Last week, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen discussed the possibility of cryptocurrency providing Russia a way of circumventing the sanctions placed on them. “We will continue to look at how the sanctions work and evaluate whether or not there are liquid leakages and we have the possibility to address them,” said Yellen. “I often hear cryptocurrency mentioned and that is a channel to be watched.”

In the past, action evasion via cryptocurrency has been experienced with Iran and Venezuela, which have helped inform the government’s efforts in this initiative.

The Acting Director of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), Him Das, issued a statement saying, “Although we have not seen widespread evasion of our sanctions using methods such as cryptocurrency, prompt reporting of suspicious activity contributes to our national security and our efforts to support Ukraine and its people.”

FinCEN issued an alert on Monday to financial institutions, advising them to be “vigilant against potential efforts to evade the expansive sanctions and other U.S.-imposed restrictions implemented in connection with the Russian Federation’s further invasion of Ukraine.”