Canadian regulator denounces Kraken and Coinbase CEOs’ tweets to local authorities

Charlie Taylor


The Ontario Securities Commission (or OSC) has contacted the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (or RCMP) about tweets published by the CEOs of cryptocurrency exchanges Coinbase and Kraken in relation to the ongoing “Freedom Convoy” (or “Freedom Train”) by truck drivers in the Canadian city of Ottawa. “We are aware of this information and have shared it with the RCMP and relevant federal authorities,” Kristen Rose, OSC’s public affairs manager, said in an interview with the Canadian newspaper Regina Leader-Post. The tweets published by Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase, and Jesse Powell, CEO of Kraken, criticize the move taken by the Canadian government to resort to the Emergency Act of 1988, which allows banks to freeze or suspend portfolios without a court order. “It’s worrying to see this kind of thing happen in any country, especially in an economically free place like Canada. Self-custodial portfolios are important!”, tweeted Armstrong, adding a redirect link to the Coinbase Wallet page. Self-custodial wallets are controlled by one person rather than a third party, making it impossible for authorities to freeze the funds contained in them. O tweet Powell, in turn, advised people not to fund causes “directly from custodial wallets,” adding that people should “take money from [carteiras] non-custodial” before sending funds.

Previously, Powell had donated money to the convoy protests, sending 1 BTC to HonkHonkHodl, a crypto fundraiser in support of protests against Canada’s Covid-19 vaccine policy. He also warned that Kraken would be “forced to comply” with authorities, asking users to remove their possessions from the exchange if they are concerned.

The “Freedom Train” and Cryptocurrencies

The OSC decision follows an order issued by an Ontario Superior Court judge last week, ordering the freezing of millions of dollars (including cryptocurrencies) amid the convoy protests in Ottawa. The “Mareva order” (the first of its kind that targets bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies) limits protesters from “selling, removing, dissipating, alienating, transferring” any of the assets raised in connection with the convoy protests. The order also targets entities that withhold assets for the convoy protesters themselves. Including major Canadian banks such as TD Canada and ATB Financial, as well as approximately 150 cryptocurrency wallets. The entities and persons targeted by the order are now required to provide a “sworn affidavit” that describes the nature, value and location of their assets. If they refuse to comply, the government may convict them of contempt of court. *Translated and edited by Daniela Pereira do Nascimento with permission from Decrypt.co.

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