GoFundMe snub sends Canadian truckers to Bitcoin, but censorship looms

Canadian truckers protesting vaccine mandates are turning to Bitcoin after GoFundMe nixed their $7 million campaign.

A group of Canadian truckers protesting vaccine mandates has so far raised $540,000 worth of Bitcoin, however their adopted platform may not be as censorship-resistant as they might’ve hoped.

The so-called “Freedom Convoy 2022” switched its crowdfunding efforts to Bitcoin-powered alternative Tallycoin last Friday.

GoFundMe had nixed the truckers’ CAD$9 million ($7.2 million) fundraiser. The Redwood City cloud host claimed the loosely-organized protesters broke its terms of service after local media detailed unruly behavior across the Canadian capital over the weekend.

The convoy first arrived in Ottawa on January 29 after Justin Trudeau’s government declared that all truckers who cross the US border must be vaccinated.

Since then, the group has since grown to thousands. They’ve promised to stay as long as it takes for Trudeau to reverse the mandate.

Hundreds of trucks were reported descending on the capital, with road blockades and fireworks the backdrop.

Similar protests are happening at the border between the US and Canada.

On Monday, Ottowa mayor Jim Watson declared a state of emergency after reports of protesters harassing locals and damage to businesses.

Police say they’ve opened a number of criminal investigations over desecrated monuments and threatening behavior, noted the New York Times (NYT).

“Clearly, we are outnumbered and we are losing this battle. This has to be reversed — we have to get our city back,” Watson told a Canadian radio station (via BBC).

“We now have evidence from law enforcement that the previously peaceful demonstration has become an occupation, with police reports of violence and other unlawful activity,” GoFundMe said in a Medium post.

The crowdfunding site has promised to automatically refund users who donated to The Freedom Convoy 2022.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave a shoutout to vaccinated truckers earlier this month. He’s since been cooped up recovering from COVID and labelled Freedom Convoy a “fringe minority.”

Anti-vax truckers want financial sovereignty via Bitcoin

NYT described the majority of protestors as peaceful while Global News detailed histories of COVID denial and ignorant white nationalist rhetoric among prominent Freedom Convoy figures.

Still, one trucker’s “Honk Honk Hold” Bitcoin campaign for the movement has become Tallycoin’s top-ranking fundraiser, with more than 4,300 contributions so far.

The organizer says the Canadian Bitcoin community would like Bitcoin to be a “second financial access point” to raise funds for Freedom Convoy.

“Legacy financial infrastructure can sometimes be politicized and clamped down upon, whereas Bitcoin is a truly censorship resistant method of communicating value.”

“Don’t allow your voices to be silenced, and don’t allow your financial sovereignty to be trampled upon. Love, unity and freedom — let’s raise some hard money for hard workers!”

  • Tallycoin allows anyone to raise and donate Bitcoin, with all contributions denominated in the cryptocurrency’s smallest denomination, the satoshi (or sat).
  • Bitcoin can be sent directly on-chain or via the Lightning Network. Like most crowdfunding sites, users have the option to remain anonymous.
  • However, Tallycoin doesn’t take any fees from the total amount, unlike GoFundMe’s 2.9% donation tax and flat 30-cent fee per contribution.
Reports indicate Freedom Convoy protestors are dwindling but there’s still a steady stream of Bitcoin donations to Honk Honk Hodl’s campaign (source).

Read more: [Navalny nets steady stream of Bitcoin donations during prison camp stint]

Kraken chief exec Jesse Powell yesterday donated 1 BTC ($43,900). The fundraiser is currently 60% of the way to its 21 BTC ($913,000) goal.

“Fix the money, fix the world. Thank you for leading by example. Mandates are immoral. End the madness. Honk Honk!” wrote Powell. The campaign has now raised 12.4 BTC ($540,000) in total.

But Tallycoin is still a trusted setup

Tallycoin is also compatible with Bitcoin software, allowing users to accept Bitcoin directly to their own nodes and via open source payment processor BTCPayServer.

But while the Bitcoin infrastructure powering Tallycoin is indeed censorship-resistant, some security-minded folk have pointed out that it’s still a trusted setup.

Any bad actor that gains access to the Tallycoin web app could also siphon funds in a number of ways.

For one, Tallycoin’s website is hosted by Arizona-headquartered cloud provider GoDaddy, which has a detailed history of supporting internet censorship bills.

GoDaddy famously cut off right-wing info portal Daily Stormer from its services in 2017 after the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville.

The Daily Stormer was then forced to hop between jurisdictions, including domain hosts in Austria, Hong Kong, and China, before reportedly returning to the dark web.

Censorship-friendly web host aside, Bitcoin dev Rene Pickhardt pointed out that Tallycoin is a “semi-trusted service,” in which users are trusting Tallycoin’s operator not to “swap Bitcoin addresses or invoices to steal donations.”

Read more: [What is Bitcoin?]

“A hacker would need full access to the server for that to happen, study my spaghetti code and modify the right parts,” wrote Tallycoin’s pseudonymous creator, DJ Booth.

“But let’s not give them any ideas.”

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