Before we get into the gist of what I'm talking about, here's an executive summary of what triggered this thought process:
- Last month, the Canadian government announced that truck drivers crossing into Canada would have to be fully vaccinated.
- In protest, truckers organized a convoy to Ottawa under the name Freedom Convoy 2022.
- A GoFundMe “Freedom Convoy 2022” fundraiser was launched on Jan. 14 by Tamara Lich, a resident of Medicine Hat, Alberta to raise money for fuel and food. It had accrued over $4.7 million as of 5 p.m. EST on Jan. 25.
- On February 4, 2022, GoFundMe announced the fundraiser had been removed from the platform for violating terms of service, specifically "violence and other unlawful activity".
- The company initially stated that $9 million in donations from the fundraiser would be redistributed to "credible and established charities" and would only be refunded upon application, subject to a two-week time limit.
- Following an outcry and threats of legal action, the company subsequently backed down and said all donations will be refunded within 10 business days
I'm not going to delve into the merits or demerits of the trucker protest. What is at hand is that a groundswell of public funding for a cause was arbitrarily shut down by a private company without any legal process.
I expect a significant decline in public trust for GoFundMe going forward which will directly contribute to loss of revenue. The company is privately held, but reportedly fundraises upward of $140-million per month with profit of $100-million per year. Their problem is that their business model is not unique and is easily duplicated.
I expect many competitors to GoFundMe to see this fiasco as a marketing opportunity to raise their profile.
I expect threats of legal action against GoFundMe in Republican strongholds in the US. I expect these will probably be coupled with threats of investigations into the company's fundraising for the Official George Floyd Memorial Fund which has already raised more than $15-million.
Here's what's happened already:
- Florida's Republican governor Ron DeSantis has tweeted that he will work with his Attorney General Ashley Moody to investigate "these deceptive practices". The attorneys-general of Louisiana , West Virginia and Texas have also expressed similar sentiments.
- GiveSendGo which bills itself as "#1 Christian Crowdfunding Site" has picked up the truckers' campaign . As I write this, more than $3-million has been raised.
- A campaign called " Bitcoin Cash for Freedom Convoy" has begun raising funds in cryptocurrency. Quote from the website: "Bitcoin Cash provides a censorship resistant way of raising money. No government or corporation can censor, freeze, or confiscate the donations made."
- A Twitter user HonkHonkHodl started a campaign to raise funds using the Bitcoin Lightning Network. As I write this, the target of 615-million Satoshis (equivalent to around US $260 000) has already been exceeded.
Bitcoin evangelist Marty Bent said this on his website:
This move by GoFundMe and the Canadian government is an incredible endorsement of Bitcoin and its reason for being. The fact that GoFundMe has the power to unilaterally freeze $9M of funds that were crowdsourced for a legitimate cause shows that centralized third parties are a gaping security hole that Bitcoin fills. If a government decides they don't like a particular movement they can use their influence to pressure corporations to prevent that movement from doing particular things. Mainly posting content, and in this case, receiving money.
In a world in which Bitcoin exists, it becomes significantly harder for governments to prevent individuals from receiving money. Nothing is proving this in real time than the current crowdfunding campaign for the Freedom Convoy that is being run on Tallycoin, a crowdfunding site that allows individuals to raise funds using bitcoin in a non-custodial fashion. Users set up a campaign, create bitcoin wallets they control, and begin accepting money that THEY CONTROL. It's as simple as that.
If you look at these things I've raised collectively, they are all pointers to a building conflict. I expect crackdowns against cryptocurrencies from governments in the weeks ahead. I also expect strengthening of cryptocurrencies as a result.