The week at CryptoTwitter: Canada’s emergency law and Coinbase Super Bowl advertising come under fire

Charlie Taylor


The price of major cryptocurrencies has barely moved in the last week as eager traders around the world place fewer bets as tensions across the borders between Russia and Ukraine mount. But North American CryptoTwitter was fraught with regional problems, mainly due to the Canadian government’s firm reaction to anti-vaccine protesters and crypto ads at the Super Bowl.

“Oh Canada” 🎵

One of last week’s most popular topics was Canada’s use of the 1998 Emergency Act to try to suspend funding to a “Freedom Convoy” (or “Freedom Convoy”) of truck drivers who, for three weeks, have been protesting the mandatory of the vaccine against covid-19 in the city of Ottawa. After the group’s GoFundMe donations were blocked by the Canadian government, they turned to cryptocurrencies and profited more than $700,000 in bitcoin (BTC) from 4,877 donors, including Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Kraken CEO Jesse Powell. . Emergency measures, which affect crypto transactions, were considered by many to be authoritative for a lack of due process. On Wednesday, an image of a letter that circulated on Twitter showed that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (or RCMP) and the Ontario Provincial Police have ordered crypto companies to “suspend facilitation of any transactions” linked to specific wallets and to notify any information or transactions linked to those wallets. On the same day, James Melville, founder of marketing consulting firm East Points West, tweeted data that showed an extremely high increase in Canadian bank shutdowns in just a few hours. The next day, Jesse Powell was heavily critical of Canadian officials, tweeting: “Due process is for the weak. Power makes right. […] There is no need to debate the law, policies or even rights when there is a monopoly of violence”.

Twitter user @degderat asked Powell about the possibility that Kraken was being “forced to freeze assets by the police without judicial consent.” Powell’s answer was sincere: “100% yes, [isso] happened/will happen and 100% yes, we will be forced to obey”.

On Wednesday night, the Ontario Superior Court judge issued an order to freeze millions of dollars in funds, including bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies — a measure that spans the globe, essentially indicating that leaders, members and fundraisers of the convoy are restricted from “selling, removing, dissipating, alienating, transferring” any assets donated to Protestants.

Bitcoin’s Super Bowl

The 56th edition of the Super Bowl, whose final took place last Sunday (12), featured announcements from several crypto companies, including Crypto.com, Coinbase and FTX. FTX and Crypto.com relied on the power of stars such as comedian Larry David and basketball player Lebron James, respectively, for their commercials. But Coinbase advertising stole the show. A QR Code floated across the screen for a minute. When scanned, the code redirected the user’s phone to Coinbase’s website, where new customers would earn $15 worth of bitcoin for free. According to marketing director Kate Rouch, 20 million people were redirected to the site in less than a minute, bringing their server down. Whistleblower Edward Snowden was among the critics: Coinbase spent $16 million on a Super Bowl ad to redirect people to its site, and $0 to ensure the site doesn’t crash ten seconds after the ad is broadcast is too much. [coisa da] Internet.

And Gary Saliba, Twitter user @tipsherany, was kind of joking when published: “Just wait until people realize how easily this could have turned into a coordinated Trojan horse cyberattack.”

Doug Barbin, director of growth at a cybersecurity auditing firm, also tweeted: “Millions of people use their cell phones and thousands of cybersecurity professionals die a slow death.” After several responses to Barbin, stating that they did not understand what the risk would be, information technology specialist Klaus Frank explained clearly: “On cell phones, QR Codes can do many things. Depending on the app, the action is immediate, like connecting to Wi-Fi, calling a mobile number, opening the map at a specific location…”. *Translated and edited by Daniela Pereira do Nascimento with permission from Decrypt.co.

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