On Wednesday’s episode of “On the Margin,” Blockworks co-founder Michael Ippolito sat down with Greg Foss, Jeff Booth, and Alex Gladstein to discuss Bitcoin’s role in the ongoing Canadian Freedom Convoy protests. Throughout the episode, they discuss financial censorship, concentration of government power, and Bitcoin as a nonpartisan tool that supports individual freedoms.
The Freedom Convoy protests were launched over two weeks ago by truckers opposed to the country’s COVID-related mandates. In a press conference earlier this week, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act, deeming the protests illegal. In the same press conference, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland granted banks permission to immediately freeze or suspend bank accounts without a court order or fear of civil liability. She added that this move against the protesters will broaden the scope of “Terrorist Financing” rules to allow them to target “crowdfunding platforms and the payment service providers they use.”
Even prior to invoking the Emergencies Act, the Freedom Convoy GoFundMe account was shut down after raising nearly $9 million. GoFundMe cited “unlawful activities” as part of their decision to shut down the account, however, as of this writing, there have been very few material arrests made related to the protests. In the episode, Foss pointed out that, “this is a peaceful protest…zero material arrests. We have way more arrests after a Stanley Cup disappointment in either Vancouver or Montreal.”
This financial censorship is part and parcel of the fiat monetary system. According to Booth, the current fiat system requires “exponentially more printing, and along that path a removal of individual rights and freedoms, and along that path, more and more so, will we concentrate power in very few hands at the expense of all others.” Booth continued by saying that “our system, all over the globe, is based on corruption and manipulation of money and control from some humans over other humans. If people don’t think that that has consequences…know that it has consequences and those consequences are just starting to emerge.” Gladstein echoed Booth's sentiment, adding that financial censorship has been employed by other governments in the past: “Financial censorship is one of the key ways through which governments will attack the ability to protest. They did it in Hong Kong, they tried to do that [in Canada], they’re going to try to do it everywhere.”
One of the major value propositions of Bitcoin is its resistance to censorship and confiscation. According to Gladstein, Bitcoin provides “an ability for anybody in the world to donate, digitally, value that’s important to this cause in Canada without any censorship or confiscatory fears. That was impossible before Bitcoin.” Beyond the current situation in Canada, Booth said that, over time, Bitcoin is serving as “a release valve” from the current monetary system and that “at a broader level, it restores individual rights and human values in a fair world.” Again, Gladstein agreed with Booth, adding that “without Bitcoin we’re heading to a bad place, where the people who rule society get to determine everything about speech and protest. So I really do think that Bitcoin is hugely helpful to help save our democracies and to help save our open societies.”