As the Freedom Convoy movement continues to cause disruption, the government is being criticized for announcing plans to target crowdfunding platforms.
Crypto advocates have reacted with alarm after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act for the first time in history.
The unprecedented step is in response to the Freedom Convoy movement, with truckers paralyzing the country's capital as they protest against vaccine mandates. A vital bridge connecting the U.S. and Canada was also closed for days because of a blockade.
On Monday night, government officials announced that Canada is broadening the scope of anti-money laundering and terrorist financing rules so that they cover all crowdfunding platforms — including those that facilitate cryptocurrency transactions.
A GoFundMe page that had raised millions of dollars for Freedom Convoy truckers was shut down following reports of violence at protests in Ottawa, prompting activists to accept Bitcoin through decentralized platforms instead.
Another site that was used for fundraising — GiveSendGo — was hacked, and replaced by a surreal message that scrolled over the top of a scene from the Disney film Frozen. It said:
"You helped fund the January 6th insurrection. You helped fund an insurrection in Ottawa. In fact, you are committed to funding anything that keeps the raging fire of misinformation going until it burns the world's collective democracies down."
'An Advert for Bitcoin'
The measures appear to be designed to affect the resolve of truckers who are continuing to protest — starving them of access to funds.
Banks have also been given permission to freeze or suspend accounts without obtaining a court order first, and trucks involved in blockades will have their insurance suspended.
El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele shared a video of a news conference given by Canada's Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, and added:
"Are these the people who like to give lessons to other countries about democracy and freedom? This is one of the top-ranking countries in the 'democracy index'? Your credibility on these topics is now worth 0."
The Emergencies Act does give Trudeau the power to deploy the military, but this measure is not going to be enacted at this point.
At a news conference, the prime minister described his move — which was opposed by some local leaders — as a "last resort," and said the blockades are harming the economy and endangering the public.