Many Canadian truckers have moved to adopt cryptocurrencies after seeing the shocking decision by GoFundMe to remove their fundraising page that raised over $10 million. Many observers were surprised because the protests had peaceful, and media reports of altercations seemed to be misconstrued. Canadian truckers launched a convoy to Ottawa in January 2022 to protest Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s vaccine mandate on all rig drivers.
The Candian truckers were unable to access the funds, which prompted a group of Canadians to find legal alternatives to raise funds for the truckers via other ways. Tallycoin, a fundraising platform that is built on the Bitcoin blockchain, offered a decentralized cryptocurrency solution for Canadian truckers to raise proceeds legally. Within two weeks the fundraiser on Tallycoin raised over $1 million from over 5,000 unique Bitcoin addresses.
Donations rolled in from around the world to help the Canadian truckers and farmers continue their peaceful protests. Donations in cryptocurrencies have become more popular over the past few years. In 2021 organizations raise approximately 600% more cryptocurrency proceeds than compared in 2020. Cryptocurrencies offer both donors and recipients a viable alternative to centralized services like GoFundMe which charge high fees and reserve the right to seize assets.
The cryptocurrency campaign is able to receive all Bitcoins directly into crypto wallets. Many truckers turned to non-custodial cryptocurrency wallets, which are self-custody solutions that give truckers full control over their crypto funds. Self-custody is not subject to third-party influence by private companies.
Decentralized cryptocurrency fundraising platforms do not have the ability to withhold any of the funds that have been raised. While Tallycoin allows Bitcoin contributions to be made both on-chain and across the Lightning Network, other contributions have come in from other cryptocurrency chains including Ethereum, Cardano, Solana, and Polygon.
About one-quarter of Americans donate on crowdfunding sites according to Pew Research. GoFundMe is the largest public crowdfunding site by volume. Many participants were surprised that the site seemed to unjustly freeze assets of a peaceful protest. The move by GoFundMe marks another Silicon Valley tech giant like Facebook and Twitter that has chosen to silence organizations.
The move by GoFundMe is legal in the United States. In April 2021 Justice Clarence Thomas warned, in a concurring opinion, that the CEOs of the social-media giants — a mere handful of executives — have the power to exclude even a president of the United States from the digital public square.
Four states have moved to investigate GoFundMe following their action against Canadian truckers. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said that his office will investigate GoFundMe for blocking and withholding donations already made to the platform through its website. Removing the campaign from its site could violate the state’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act, he said.
“GoFundMe’s response to an anti-mandate, pro-liberty movement should ring alarm bells to anyone using the donation platform and, more broadly, any American wanting to protect their constitutional rights,” Attorney General Paxton said in a statement. “Many Texans donated to this worthy cause. I am acting to protect Texas consumers so that they know where their hard-earned money is going, rather than allowing GoFundMe to divert money to another cause without the consent of Texas citizens.”
Florida, Missouri and West Virginia are also probing GoFundMe’s handling of the “Freedom Convoy” campaign. Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said that GoFundMe is trying to silence the group, while Florida Governor Ron DeSantis accused the company of fraud when it said it would funnel funds to other charities.
“It is a fraud for @gofundme to commandeer $9M in donations sent to support truckers and give it to causes of their own choosing,” the governor wrote on Twitter. “I will work with @AGAshleyMoody to investigate these deceptive practices — these donors should be given a refund.”
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said GoFundMe’s initial plan to redirect money violated state law and asked residents to report any deceptive acts or practices by GoFundMe.