BTC Sessions (Ben Perrin), is a Canadian Bitcoin educator with a well-known YouTube channel. In this interview, we discuss his experiences as part of a group of Bitcoiners organising Bitcoin funds for Canadian truckers being targeted by the Canadian government.
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In January, a large group of Canadian truckers took part in convoys to protest against their government’s Covid vaccination mandates for cross-border movements. The protests grew and the convoys converged on Canada’s capital city of Ottawa. Thousands of trucks and protestors blocked the streets. It divided opinion: some Ottawans called for Government action, whilst the protest inspired copycat activities and prominent support in other countries.
The Canadian government reacted with some of the most draconian responses to activism seen in any democracy. On February 14th they invoked the Emergencies Act designed to provide legal cover for government actions required in major national emergencies such as war, invasion or insurrection. It was only the 2nd time such actions had been used in peacetime.
Attention was focused on the funding sources, with dozens of bank accounts linked to the protest movements being frozen. As a result, a Bitcoin fundraising initiative suddenly took centre stage as the vehicle for getting funds of any description to the truckers. This Bitcoin funding and the associated group managing it then became a target for the Canadian authorities.
Ben takes us through what was a rapidly evolving and extremely stressful situation, where a group of well-meaning Bitcoiners found themselves becoming enemies of the state. Did Bitcoin stand up to scrutiny? Bitcoin did provide truckers with a financial lifeline. And, whilst there were issues that occurred, there are some very important caveats.
The initial set-up of the Bitcoin fund wasn’t with a view to it being the primary source of finance. Further, nobody expected the unprecedented actions taken by the Canadian government. Nevertheless, invaluable lessons have been learned. There is a clear view of the processes required to protect funds and those involved. More importantly, activists now know what actions the state, any state, is prepared to take.