Canada Invokes ‘Emergencies Act’, New Restrictions Include Crypto

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has invoked the ‘Emergencies Act’ amidst weeks of truckers’ protests that has strangulated the country. The act will provide Canada’s federal government additional temporary powers in the face of such soaring protests and it would be the first that the act has been imposed ever since its inception in 1988. Moreover, under the act, both crowdfunding platforms as well as payment services providers that are linked to them including crypto, are expected to now register themselves with the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC).

The act also empowers the Canadian banks by granting them the power to freeze the funds of those who according to them are believed to be part of this “Freedom Convoy”.However, the long term impact of these new restrictions on the payment providers specializing in crypto is still a blur in such a nascent stage.

The country’s Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland in a press conference Monday talked about the federal government’s plans to widen the scope of the existing anti-money laundering and terror-financing rules to now include crowdfunding platforms and payment providers used. 

Speaking on the expansion of the ACR, Freeland said, “These changes cover all forms of transactions including digital assets such as cryptocurrencies.” She added, “The illegal blockheads have highlighted the fact that crowdfunding platforms and some of the payment service providers the use are not fully captured under the proceeds of Crime and Terrorist Financing Act.”

This comes to light as many crowdfunding platforms along with their respective payment providers must now report any massive transactions which are suspicious to the national financial regulators. This makes these platforms’ tasks similar to that of the country’s banks. As for the need for the new restrictions, the protesters who have been challenging Trudeau’s COVID-19 mandates managed to garner funds worth upto $19 millions through the crowdfunding platforms like GiveSendGo and GoFundMe. To control the amassed capital, the government blocked these funds from reaching the protesting convoys, which in turn, encouraged them to organize another round of fundraising, this time through Bitcoin (BTC)

While GoFundMe readily cooperated and worked along with the Canadian bureaucrats to refund the donors, GiveSendGo experienced an information leak which according to The Daily Dot writer Michael Thalen, revealed the names of all those who contributed to the huge amount. As per the exposé, it was found that the HonkHonk Hodl group amassed 22 BTC which is equivalent to about $1 million through the Tallycoin BTC fundraising platform. Following this, they closed their Tallycoin page on February 15 as soon as the amount collected surpassed the original fundraising goal. It is unclear how such specific payments will be blocked from the expecting protesters.

Canada which has been a raging boiling pot for a host of blockades across the country, headlined by agitated truckers who are defying the government’s covid protocols. These blockades have further put a halt to the country’s trucking supply chain, straining Canada’s economy as a fleet of trucks blocking the national highways have become a common sight.

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Roopashi Semalty
Roopashi Semalty

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