So far, February has been characterised by two main events – the first where Candanian truckers staged a protest in Ottawa, and the second is the strategy of tension between Russia and the rest of the world.
The truckers were protesting against the Canadian government that wants to force them to be vaccinated to cross the US-Canadian border. The protest was largely peaceful. The government introduced the Emergencies Act, which some consider one step away from Martial law.
The government argued that the truckers’ actions and those of their supporters are damaging the Canadian economy.
The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), part of The Economist publication, ranked Canada in 12th place in the Democracy Index for 2021. Legislation on par with the Emergencies Act is unheard of in the highest-ranking democracies in the world. Such situations are closely associated with authoritarian regimes or during periods of war.
The Emergencies Act gave the government the power to freeze bank accounts linked with the protests without any need for a court order.
GoFundMe, a significant fundraising website, took down the page accepting donations in support of truck drivers. The company’s change of heart may have resulted from the fear of retribution from the Canadian government.
The “Freedom Convoy”, the name given to those protesting, switched to accepting Bitcoin donations. Unlike banks, Bitcoin’s nature is decentralised – meaning that any government and banks can’t control it.
Only centralised exchanges (e.g. Coinbase, Kraken, Binance, etc.) can control Bitcoin. As the name implies, crypto exchanges enable users to switch fiat (money printed by a government) and convert it into crypto like Bitcoin.
The crypto exchange acts as a gateway between crypto and fiat. If the cryptocurrency buyer leaves it on an exchange, any government or bank can confiscate crypto or freeze it. However, it would be difficult to stop if the buyer transfers it onto a paper or hardware wallet like the Ledger Nano.
Once the crypto is outside the exchange, the only way to control Bitcoin would be for the governments to turn off the world’s electricity. Impossible.
A centralised exchange only provides you with a public address. To transfer Bitcoin from one address to another, you’ll need a public address. However, centralised exchanges don’t provide you with private keys. Exchanges don’t provide private keys.
Private keys are essential as they allow you to transmit crypto from one wallet to another. As the name implies, private keys are secret. Private keys are used together with the public key to transmit transactions and access your Bitcoin wallet. Only external wallets allow you to have both your public and private keys.
In the case of centralised exchanges, private keys aren’t available to their users. The maxim goes, “not your (private) keys, not your coins”.
Just as the bank can freeze your bank account, centralised exchanges can do the same.
Governments may force centralised exchanges to freeze cryptocurrencies. Kraken’s CEO advises its clients to move crypto away from centralised exchanges.
Unless you’re not using crypto for day trading and intend to keep it for a long time, transfer your crypto to a hardware wallet.
My favourite hardware wallet is the Ledger Nano. I’ve been using it for the past four years. To buy yours, click here.
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