Stephanie Hughes

Published:February 16, 2022

-Financial Post


Multiple Canadian cryptocurrency exchanges have confirmed to the Financial Post that they received letters from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police late last night and early this morning ordering that they not facilitate transactions for a list of more than 30 crypto wallet addresses thought to be connected to the vaccine mandate protests that started in Ottawa.

The letter called on exchanges to immediately disclose to the Commissioner of the RCMP “any information about a transaction or proposed transaction” connected to the wallet addresses.

The move comes after the federal government invoked the Emergencies Act, requesting that financial institutions freeze and report crypto assets transacted to support the trucker protest.

Toronto-based cryptocurrency exchange CoinSmart told the Financial Post in a statement that it is aware of the alert issued by the RCMP and the Ontario Provincial Police as part of the Emergency Economic Measures Order.

“It is unfortunate that the Emergency Economic Measures Order is indiscriminately targeting the whole cryptocurrency ecosystem,” the statement from CoinSmart read. “The addresses associated with this alert have been widely disseminated to the entire crypto community here in Canada and have reportedly been reported to the blockchain monitoring softwares that service the industry world wide. We will cooperate with the OPP and the RCMP and fulfill our obligations, if any, under the Emergency Economic Measures Order.”

Torstein Braaten, the head of regulatory affairs and chief compliance officer at registered Canadian crypto platform Bitbuy, said that the company reviewed the emergency order and received a number of crypto addresses from law enformcement. Braaten added that the firm would be conducting its own investigations as required by the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC).

“The possibility that crypto is being used for fundraising makes it relevant to include, however the FINTRAC rules already apply to Canadian crypto trading platforms,” Braaten’s statement read. “This regulation does not change what compliant Canadian crypto trading platforms are already doing today with surveillance and reporting.”

“That being said, it may bring attention that some unregulated crypto trading platforms may be conducting business in Canada outside of the rules required by Canadian firms,” Braaten continued.