The ongoing protest by Canadian truckers has resulted in serious economic and political implications for the Nato superpower. As you might be aware, Canadian truckers recently took to the streets of Ottawa to protest against Covid-19 border restrictions, which require unvaccinated drivers to quarantine for 14 days upon re-entry from the United States.
While the protests were started by a small group of truckers, the movement which now goes by ‘Freedom Convoy’ has been growing bigger, with more people coming out to voice their sentiments against Justin Trudeau’s government pandemic restrictions. Some of the protesters have been pitching camp around Parliament buildings since late January, although the Ottawa police are now taking a combative approach to disperse the crowds.
Besides Parliament Hill, the Freedom Convoy has also blocked major roads connecting with the U.S, including the Ambassador Bridge which accounts for 25% of the trading revenues between the two nations. A blockade that has not sat well with the Canadian authorities; contrary to the popularized ‘liberal’ philosophy of Trudeau’s government, they are now attacking the freedom of Canadian citizens through several emergency measures.
The most significant measure yet has been the expansion of Canada’s AML and terrorist financing rules. Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland noted that some of the crowdfunding avenues and financial intermediaries aiding the blockades are not fully captured under the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC).
Is this really the case or another witch hunt by a government that touts itself as one of the most liberal and progressive authorities in the world?
The Loophole in Centralized Financial Services
Despite the Canadian government terming the blockade as illegal, it is within the sovereign rights of the country’s citizens to hold peaceful protests. This right is now under threat following the crackdown on financial institutions and crowdfunding platforms that offer centralized services to individuals who are supporting the cause. The approach has been criticized by several global leaders, including El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele.
According to a recent tweet by President Bukele, Canada’s credibility in giving ‘democratic’ advice to other nations is headed down the drain,
Are these the people who like to give lessons to other countries about democracy and freedom?
This is one of the top ranking countries in the “democracy index”?
Your credibility on these topics is now worth 0.pic.twitter.com/wCjh9bXwDt
— Nayib Bukele 🇸🇻 (@nayibbukele) February 15, 2022
Similar sentiments were echoed by Kraken CEO and Co-Founder Jesse Powell, who also cautioned protesters against using custodial crypto wallets to fund the blockade. Instead, the Kraken CEO urged protesters to withdraw their digital assets into non-custodial wallets to eliminate the possibility of being frozen by Canadian authorities.
With more financial measures set to be implemented through the upcoming Emergency Act, Canadian protesters might as well shift away from centralized financial institutions. Several upcoming decentralized innovations offer the same utility, not to mention that one can easily escape the wrath of tyrannical regimes while supporting noble causes.
The World is Better off with Decentralized Ecosystems
As the tech evolution comes of age, some changes are inevitable. Governments and centralized service providers might be forced to eat a humble pie, thanks to the rise of decentralized ecosystems. At the core, this upcoming world of decentralization is based on blockchain technology and digital assets. The main idea is to eliminate centralized intermediaries that have long held clients on a chokehold.
For instance, protesters in the Canadian saga can escape government surveillance and financial crackdowns by using Decentralized Finance (DeFi) to fund their cause. On this front, we have decentralized asset management platforms such as HyperDex which enables users to easily invest and capture the upside of the DeFi market. Notably, HyperDex leverages non-custodial wallets which means that only the owner can initiate or stop transactions.
In addition to the asset management services, HyperDex offers a smooth way to transfer crypto funds to other wallet ecosystems. The platform does not subject users to the mundane institutional KYC/AML processes, allowing users to send crypto assets without worrying about regulatory crackdowns. Given the Canadian situation, decentralized ecosystems such as HyperDex propose a significant value in shaping the future of funding noble causes.
That said, DeFi users have the obligation of exercising the newly found freedoms with responsibility. Otherwise, it would beat the purpose of innovating decentralized ecosystems. Only by being accountable and operating with integrity can these upcoming innovations serve the masses as per intended goals.
Canada’s recent protests have opened room for debate on how governments should handle such situations. One can only imagine the severity in less democratic jurisdictions. With blockchain and digital assets in the picture, citizens of the world have an opportunity to change the narrative.
The DeFi ecosystem, in particular, is a great starting point of taking back control from the tyrannical authorities that exist today. However, it will require mass education and a rigorous fight against established financial institutions for the DeFi vision to become a reality. Slow but sure is the mantra!