Canada is experiencing a lot of chaos. Our neighbors to the north are using emergency powers to take control of bank accounts belonging to those opposed to mandates or lockdowns, while other countries have removed COVID restrictions. The state media has been scouring through the compromised database of convoy donors, but isn’t it interesting? bannable offenseTweet? To harass and dox others.
While financial deplatforming is a serious threat, it has been relatively rare. The world has seen the truth of our financial controls through these shocking banking sanctions against the Canadian trucker convoy, and their supporters.
This is possible with bitcoin. This mantra is not enough. Transferring value with peers is possible without the intervention of a bank or government. However, it is not an easy task. Learning is key to preparing for a politically-controlled financial system. Get it nowInformation about cryptocurrency, including how it can be used and the restrictions that remain for certain service providers.
Our legacy financial system is controllable because it is largely operated by third party custodians—banks and payment processors—that move your money around. We are dependent upon these institutions for our daily lives if we do not use cash, digital or physical.
The power of financial control was recognized by governments long before. Banks are required to compile dossiers on customers—your identifying information, your commercial habits, your recipients—to share with governments or other institutions.
Additionally, institutions may be directed to stop financial access from enemies of state. This used to be the case for terrorist organizations and nations that are “rogue”, but Canada has expanded its net to cover ordinary Canadians.
In invoking the Emergencies Act for the first time, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has directed financial institutions—including banks, payment processors, online platforms, credit unions, loan services companies, insurance companies, securities dealers, and yes, cryptocurrency exchanges—to deplatform any “designated person” engaged in prohibited activities. Service providers are required to stop “dealing with any property wherever it is located,” “facilitating any transaction”, “making available property” or providing any financial or related services to the designated individuals.
Did you know that? You are effectively exiled from Canadian commerce if you support the convoy. It is possible that you won’t be able get money out of the bank. Enjoy your democracy, citizen.
The Emergencies Act requires that the Parliament review invocations and decide whether to approve or denial them within seven working days. At the time of writing, it has not occurred. Chrystia Freiland, Finance Minister, has declared her intent to “retain these financial controls”permanently.” This has made bitcoin’s use case painfully clear.
Bitcoin allows you to make and receive payments directly. The truckers and their support will have an easy way to transfer money even if the financial system is disrupted.
Bitcoin isn’t magic. Even within bitcoin’s economy, there are limits and restrictions. These limitations and controls must be understood now to ensure that we can navigate through similar situations in the future.
There are many third-party providers of Bitcoin service that are also regulated. You could be deplatformed if your private keys are held by Coinbase, Square or any other custodial services. They collect transaction information and are similarly regulated to legacy services.
Canadian government leaned on custodial cryptocurrency exchangesAccess to dissidents must be cut off. This does not mean that Coinbase accounts will be closed to protestors. The blacklisted address is the one that Coinbase accounts cannot use to donate to. This ability is available to them so they will exercise it.
This is where there’s a lot of confusion. Canadian officials did not “freeze any bitcoin accounts” and could not. They can only direct any regulated entity (they hold the keys) to either freeze cryptocurrency accounts it controls or to blacklist accounts hosted by others. This means that regulated cryptocurrency platforms will be compelled not to allow their users to engage with blacklisted accounts.
No government can take your cash or block your transactions if you have your keys. The only thing a government has the power to do is control platforms that are regulated. It’s no small feat, considering that many people already have accounts on these regulated platforms.
The solution is to keep your own keys, and not use third-party custodians. Do not put yourself in an awkward situation that could result in you losing your bitcoin keys or limiting the money you can send to your service provider. We need to be able to store our money safely and perform transactions from the wallets that we manage. Banks and governments will not be able stop you from transacting value like they did in Canada.
This leads to the second issue: how do you get money into and out of Bitcoin? The most convenient on-ramps and off-ramps—bridges in and out of the fiat economy—are also regulated.
Consider that you’ve learned how to self-sustain finance and manage all of your keys and coins. You can even set up a bitcoin node and provide additional security. As soon as you have set up an account for the trucker convoy to receive bitcoins, it is easy to send them. Now, the question is: What are truckers supposed to do? they have received the bitcoin?
Bitcoin is not widely accepted in stores. However, truckers are not allowed to spend bitcoins in order to access all resources they may need.
You need dollars. Coinbase and other exchanges are where most people can trade bitcoins to get dollars. The dollars will then be transferred to your bank account, or an app. That’s a no-goIf you’re on the sidelines of an antigovernment group,
This is not an easy solution. Bitcoin owners may try to find someone to purchase their coins in cash. While it is better to do this with someone you trust and know, there are many forums that will help you find a buyer. Some of the most well-known ones like Paxful and LocalBitcoins must also submit to financial surveillance (AML/KYC), so there will be a record.
You can also use bitcoins for gift cards. These can be used to either buy or sell needed resources. You have to be careful with this one. The Walmart gift card was partially responsible for the arrest of the colorful Bitfinex characters. If you have to manage the many millions of dollars worth of bitcoins the truckers got, it is not the smartest way to spend $500 per month on random gift cards.
The longer-term solution is to encourage more businesses to accept cryptocurrency so there is no need to bridge into government-controlled money at all. As the financial system becomes more politicized, more people may want to be paid in bitcoin to have an option to exit if they require it. If sufficient people desire to use cryptocurrency, this could mean that more businesses will be comfortable accepting the concept of cryptocurrency. McDonalds, a multinational corporation that accepts bitcoin in El Salvador is already compliant to the law. They can do so elsewhere.
The third and final issue is now: chain forensics. Imagine that you are a completely self-governing bitcoin user who is 100% in bitcoin without the need for dollars. You could easily reveal your identity, and all of the sensitive political donations you have made, if you aren’t careful.
People who gave money to the truckers as part of the GiveSendGo security breach have felt harassed, hounded and fired from their jobs. If they don’t take precautions, bitcoin users may be exposed to similar attacks.
All transactions are transparently recorded in the bitcoin ledger. It is viewable and can be viewed at any time. Although you can have as many addresses as you like, there are methods to find associated addresses. This threat doesn’t only affect super-data scientists. If you have a public wallet linked to your social media profiles, it can also be used as a way for someone else to identify you. The wallet can then be used to transfer money to political disfavored causes.
Bitcoin privacy can be protected with tools. It is possible to structure bitcoin transactions so that they do not interfere with the chain forensics company’s ability to identify identities and associate addresses. A CoinJoin is a powerful tool that hides the identities of senders and receivers to third parties. Bitcoin developers continue to add privacy features to the protocol. The Taproot upgrade made complex transactions undistinguishable with normal transactions, chain analysis and so on.
Others cryptocurrencies were created to provide privacy through the protocol layer. Monero and Zcash are two popular choices. They use techniques known as zero knowledge proofs or ring signatures, to shield addresses sent and received on the blockchain.
These have their downsides, however. Privacycoins should give users confidence that their transactions are valid. However, there are bugs in the past. Also, there are less developers involved in these projects. fewer eyesYou can find problems in the code. Because there are not as many bridges, privacycoins have to deal with the same on-ramp/off-ramp problems with fiat currencies than bitcoin.
It’s not my intention to downplay bitcoin’s ability to be a liberating tool. These technologies have the potential to provide the most financial freedom for the largest number of people. This is the future of cryptocurrency. It’s something of a miracle, and it’s well worth learning about.
It’s time to recognize that we aren’t alone. It is already having to contend with a politically controlled financial system. Can’t wait to be in a situation similar to those of the Canadian truckers. We expect bitcoin will work like magic.
It’s time to learn about cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, Monero, and Zcash to understand how they work and how to get more control over our finances. Encourage businesses to accept cryptocurrency. Chain forensics is something that should be taught to more people. And for heaven’s sake—people need to learn about the risks with regulated exchanges! Even the CEOs of these platforms are telling customers to get money off these exchanges if they are worried about deplatforming.
It is not easy to win liberty. It is a blessing to be able to use a strong tool to defend our finances against political interference and financial mismanagement. We have the freedom to make the right decision about how we use it.