No surprise convoy organizers turning to Bitcoin to fund protest blockades: expert

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Published February 11, 2022 at 4:30 pm

OTTAWA — An anti-money laundering expert says attempting to stop funds going to protesters blockading Parliament Hill and several border crossings is like playing a game of whack-a-mole.

Matthew McGuire says the order recently approved by an Ontario court to freeze millions raised through GiveSendGo will be effective at least temporarily in stopping those funds flowing into organizers’ hands. 

However, he says nothing can prevent another campaign from popping up, which would present the same challenge for governments and police. 

So far, around US$8.8 million has been raised through a campaign page on GiveSendGo, a Christian fundraising platform, and more than $700,000 has rolled in through another page on the website.

The campaigns were quickly put together last week after GoFundMe cancelled an earlier fundraiser that had gathered more than $10 million, once the website determined the protest in Ottawa had turned into an “occupation.” 

McGuire says it’s no wonder convoy organizers are turning to cryptocurrency like Bitcoin to generate funds because it’s decentralized. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he spoke with U.S. President Joe Biden this morning about the influence of foreign money in funding this “illegal activity.” 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 11, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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