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Canadian Authorities Struggle to Seize Freedom Convoy’s Bitcoin Donations

The truckers from the Freedom Convoy raised nearly 21 Bitcoin, but the Canadian government has reportedly seized less than 6.

2 min read
Canada and Bitcoin. Image: Shutterstock

Though the Canadian government has brought protests against vaccine mandates to an end in Ottawa, the hunt for Bitcoin intended to finance those protests continues. 

That's because most of the $880,000 worth of peer-to-peer crypto donations appear to have slipped through the government's fingers.

Last month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked Canada's Emergencies Act, affording the government power to freeze any bank account involved with donating to the protest. This was shortly after the crowdfunding platform GoFundMe was pressed to return $10 million in donations back to donors. 

However, a crypto-native fundraiser called "Bitcoin for Truckers" has proven much more difficult to stop. 

The Ontario Supreme Court ordered owners of a multi-sig wallet controlling the donated Bitcoin to freeze the holdings, as well as another 122 different crypto addresses. A multisig wallet requires multiple people's authorization to conduct a transaction. 

One member of this multi-sig wallet was "Bitcoin team lead" Nicholas St. Louis, also known as Nobody Caribou on Twitter.

Before the order, though, CBC reported that 14.6 Bitcoin of the total 20.7 had already been distributed to 101 separate, unidentified wallets at that point. 

These were presumably the wallets that St. Louis recorded handing out to truckers in batches of 0.144 Bitcoin at a time – worth about $6,400 each.

CBC reported that St. Louis said in an affidavit on February 28 that roughly 5.9 of the remaining Bitcoin were seized by authorities. Decrypt has contacted St. Louis for confirmation and will update with exact figures.

Canadian authorities to track down Bitcoin

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) still claims that it can seize and track Bitcoin. 

"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," it said in a statement to CBC.

However, as Canadian digital currency lawyer Mathew Burgoyne explains, attempting to freeze Bitcoin belonging to unknown holders could prove much more complicated than was the case with St. Louis. 

"The limitation is that the crypto can simply be transferred to another wallet address that's not frozen," he told CBC, "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."

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