All images in this article are published with the permission of NobodyCaribou.
Given the stakes, it might not have been the ideal time to experiment with a relatively new fundraising tool, but when the opportunity presented itself, two intrepid Bitcoiners stepped up and enabled financial freedom with the help of others in the community
It would have been hard to predict this opportunity to showcase Bitcoin’s power as a protest tool, or the overwhelming response (with close to $1 million raised), but when two fiat fundraising platforms being used to propel truckers protesting COVID-19 vaccine mandates in Canada went offline, and the government started freezing bank accounts, the perfect storm for Bitcoin adoption was created.
“The trucker protest raised more money from Canadians in a matter of days than the Liberals could raise in their entire election campaign,” observed Bitcoin Core developer Peter Todd on Twitter.
Bitcoin’s Time To Shine
After GoFundMe accounts linked to protest donations were frozen and GiveSendGo, which was also providing funds to the protesters, encountered problems with hackers, turning to bitcoin to raise and distribute funds in an uncensorable way seemed like a no-brainer.
And now that the Canadian government is preparing to enact the Emergencies Act, allowing it to freeze the bank accounts of those suspected of sending money to protesters, the value of a permissionless currency that’s out of the reach of the government is becoming clear. Canada’s minister of public safety has said that at least 76 bank accounts have been frozen under the powers of the act, containing about $3.2 million.
A pseudonymous Bitcoiner known as NobodyCaribou has been working with others in the community, particularly JWWeatherman_, to use Tallycoin’s platform to fundraise, creating a temporary protocol to distribute the funds raised to truckers.
After meeting a goal of raising 21 bitcoin for the cause, 14.6 BTC was distributed to about 90 truckers last week, according to NobodyCaribou.
NobodyCaribou and JWWeatherman printed 100 paper bitcoin wallets and put them in envelopes, with NobodyCaribou distributing them to truckers based on what he’d learned over the previous two weeks talking to truckers and making them aware of Bitcoin.
It took 24 hours to distribute the envelopes. And, as it turned out, the timing was critical as police started making arrests shortly after the distribution was complete, as shown in videos posted to Twitter.
Each wallet contained the equivalent of roughly $8,000. The remaining 6 BTC, which sits in a multisig wallet, was given to the Freedom Truckers Convoy nonprofit board to be combined with funds from GiveSendGo, the fundraisers explained on a Twitter Spaces.
This unexpected tipping point for Bitcoin has been the result of a series of unexpected failures from the fiat system. It took two Bitcoiners thinking fast on their feet with help and encouragement from the Bitcoin community to turn those failures into a showcase for this critical technology.
As one tweet put it, “The way the #bitcoin funds were distributed to the Canadian truckers was pretty incredible. It introduced an incentive for them to learn on their own what #bitcoin is and how to use it! I couldn’t have come up with a better way myself. Great job! @JWWeatherman_ @NobodyCaribou.”
NobodyCaribou has carefully documented the steps he took to distribute donated bitcoin, including posting videos on Twitter of truckers receiving envelopes containing wallets that held the funds and describing the process Twitter Spaces and on YouTube.
There has been some frustration voiced by Bitcoiners around the need for this kind of transparency, but NobodyCaribou has expressed that at least part of this exercise was to show the public how it was done. Even as the protest and fundraising efforts are ongoing, Bitcoin has proven to be a powerful financial rail in the face of government surveillance and authority.
Donors and others who want to track the 100 trucker wallets that were handed out, can do so here. At the time of writing, the site was showing that 26 of the 100 wallets had moved bitcoin into new addresses and seven have been used to make a purchase.
This is a guest post by Jesse Willms. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.