- Vitalik Buterin called Canada’s move to freeze protesting truckers’ bank accounts “dangerous.”
- Decentralized technology helps people retain access to their money, Buterin said.
- Fans raised nearly $1 million in bitcoin donations, but Canada blacklisted some of the addresses.
Ethereum cofounder Vitalik Buterin criticized Canada’s invocation of its emergency act to prevent protesting truckers from accessing all types of funds, saying such a move points to the greater need for decentralized systems like cryptocurrencies.
He acknowledged that the disruption caused by Canadian trucker protests is unlawful, but said it shouldn’t have been met with such a restrictive move that made them lose access to funds.
“If the truckers are blocking the roads and that’s breaking the economy, fine, blocking the roads is illegal and there are laws against that,” he told CoinDesk in an interview over the weekend at the ETHDenver conference.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared a national emergency last week following protests against the country’s mandate that requires cross-border truck drivers to be vaccinated. The uprising has caused significant gridlock and disruptions in the city of Ottawa and other areas.
The government then began using emergency powers to prevent protesters from accessing Canada’s banking and financial system.
Canada’s deputy prime minister, Chrystia Freeland, said Thursday that banks have quickly moved to freeze the bank accounts of those involved in the protests without a court order or fear of civil liability. Digital-asset contributions and cryptocurrencies were also covered under this law.
“If the government is not willing to follow the laws … [and] give people a chance to defend themselves…and they just want to talk to the banks and basically cut out people’s financial livelihoods without due process, that is an example of the sort of thing that decentralized technology is there to make more difficult,” Buterin said.
His comments indicated that cutting out middlemen wouldn’t be a rebellious move, but would actually increase efficiency.
“It’s not about being lawless. In some ways, it’s about bringing rule of law back,” Buterin said. Governments and law enforcement can still pursue targets and go after them as they always have without having to employ such scare tactics, he suggested.
“This concept of going after intermediaries and using intermediaries to bypass all that, it’s dangerous,” he added. “Having decentralized alternatives to an intermediary is a good way to limit the damage.”
Crypto fans of the protest raised more than $900,000 in bitcoin last week after donations via GoFundMe were blocked. But the government blacklisted a number of addresses associated with crypto donations. It’s still unclear to what extent crypto funds have been affected since wallets are controlled by private key owners.
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