Technology

Canada fails to order personal wallets to freeze bitcoins

Key facts:
  • Canada has ordered all banks and currency platforms to freeze their users’ funds.

  • The order includes the cryptocurrencies, but a self-custody wallet explains that it cannot.

The High Court of Justice of Ontario, the province of the capital of Canada, sent an order to cryptocurrency providers to freeze the funds of their users involved with Freedom Convoy. This was reported by the self-custody bitcoin wallet company, Nunchuk, which announced on February 18 that it received the order and cannot comply with the measure due to the nature of Bitcoin.

Nunchuk published in Twitter a part of the document, where it is seen that it says: “This Court orders that any bank, financial institution, money service business, fundraising platform or website, cryptocurrency platform or exchange, or custodian of any cryptocurrency wallet , upon receipt of this notice of order, immediately freeze and prevent any transaction (…) of your assets”.

In addition to ordering that the funds be frozen, it also requires that such entities urgently send them all the information they have about their users. This is seen in the next section, where it says that “it orders that the intermediaries immediately disclose and deliver to it any and all records, including the existence, nature, value and location of any money or assets.”

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The Court of Canada notes that the order is a precautionary measure of Mareva. With this legal term is known an asset freezing order that prevents a defendant from transferring their assets while they are being prosecuted. This decision was made by the government in order to stop the financing in dollars and bitcoin of the movement. Freedom Convoy.

Freedom Convoy is a protest started by truckers in Canada three weeks ago calling for the removal of vaccination requirements against covid-19. Since then, the demonstration has not stopped growing and has crossed borders, also forming itself in different countries of the world. Some of them are France, Finland, Australia, the United States and Spain.

Canadians and people from around the world have joined the truckers’ march
Freedom Convoy. Source: TheLiberal.ie / twitter.com

The movement has raised more than USD 10 million in funding that it was never able to receive because the Canadian government stopped the donation by labeling it as promoting illicit acts. That is why Freedom Convoy chose to raise funds in bitcoin, a type of money that the government could not freeze if it is transferred without intermediaries.

That is what Nunchuk responded to the Court of Canada in a letter that he made public. There he tells her that, as a personal custody wallet, he has no way of freezing the funds of his users, nor of sending them their information, since they do not have access to it, unlike cryptocurrency platforms that work as intermediaries and have data from their clients.

“Dear Ontario Superior Court Justice,

Nunchuk is a self-custody, collaborative, multisig bitcoin wallet. We are a software provider, not a custodial financial intermediary.

Our software is free to use. It enables people to eliminate single points of failure and store bitcoin as securely as possible while preserving privacy.

We do not collect any user identification information beyond email addresses. We don’t have any keys either. Therefore:

We cannot “freeze the assets of our users.”

We cannot “prevent transfers”.

We have no knowledge of the “existence, nature, value and location” of our users’ assets.

See how self-custody and private keys work. When the Canadian dollar is worthless, we’ll be here for you too.

Sincerely,

The Nunchuck Team.”

Letter sent by Nunchuk, an organization that provides multi-signature bitcoin wallets, to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

Centralized bitcoin exchanges can freeze funds and send information to the government

Unlike Nunchuk, the CEO of the centralized exchange Kraken, Jesse Powell, communicated that if the Canadian government demands information from his clients, he will have to give it 100%. And, in addition, they could block and freeze the funds they want. A sequence that is similar to what happened in Argentina in 2001 with the famous “Corralito”.

As CriptoNoticias reported, even the CEO of Kraken recommended not to use Kraken if they want the Canadian government to not have access to their cryptocurrencies. Precisely, Jesse Powell said: “If you are concerned, do not keep your funds with any centralized/regulated custodian. We can’t protect them. Buy and sell your cryptocurrencies only in P2P trades.

P2P is the service «peer to peer»or between peers, said in Spanish, which allows people to exchange their cryptocurrencies and national currencies, without any intermediary. In this way, they can avoid going to a bank or exchange to exchange money, a recommendation that has been given to Freedom Convoy in order to use their financing.

Freedom Convoy has already accumulated more than 21 bitcoins, which, at the time of writing this article, is equivalent to more than USD 838,000, according to the CriptoNoticias calculator. Thus, cryptocurrency in personal custody wallets becomes the way to avoid government control and freezing, something that has generated concern in the inhabitants of Canada because it puts the financial freedom of the population at stake.

The freezing of dollars and bitcoins has not been the only measure that the government has ordered to disarm the movement. It has also authorized repression and arrests of the people of the demonstration that accumulate in the streets, such as they report Canadians on social media with images and videos.

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