Canada Protest Live Updates: Ottawa Police Chief Resigns

Video
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said the government would step up oversight of crowdfunding platforms that have been used to support protests against Covid restrictions.CreditCredit…Blair Gable/Reuters

New details about the source of the millions of dollars supporting the Canadian trucking convoy suggest that many of the biggest donors are wealthy Canadians, although one of the largest contributions was made on behalf of an American tech entrepreneur.

A data leak believed to be from crowdfunding platform GiveSendGo, posted last night on a now-defunct webpage by anonymous hackers, lists records of more than 92,000 donations totaling more than $8 million. A review of the data shows that approximately $4.3 million came from Canada, while another $3.6 million came from the United States, although the United States accounted for the largest number of individual donations. Small donations from dozens of other countries were only a fraction of the total amount raised.

One of the largest donations, in the amount of $90,000, is attributed to Thomas M. Siebel, a billionaire entrepreneur and investor from Silicon Valley. He did not respond to a request for comment sent to the email address on file and to his company.

Others who gave donations ranging from $10,000 to $75,000 appear to be mostly Canadian business owners, with a few Americans in the mix.

Brad Howland, president of a New Brunswick company that makes pressure washers, appears in the leaked data as having donated $75,000, leaving the comment: “Hold on! In an email, Mr Howland confirmed he was a donor, saying the protests “will go down in the history books”.

“Our company and my family are proud to stand with these men and women who defend our great nation’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” he said.

A donation of $17,760, attributed in the data to Travis Moore of Idaho, was accompanied by the comment: “Ringing the Liberty Ring, Brothers of the North. Cryptocurrency is the future. A request for comment sent to Mr Moore, using the email address given in the donation records, received a response containing a meme opposing the Covid restrictions.

Most comments left by donors expressed peaceful solidarity with the cause of opposing vaccination mandates and other pandemic restrictions. However, to the positive messages, some had a more threatening tone, such as one left by an American who donated $50: “I’d rather pay to support this movement now than pay bullets later.”

The presence of cryptocurrency evangelists among convoy supporters is apparent in a separate set of data reviewed by The New York Times. It shows that donations were made in Bitcoin through a webpage that was created after the initial fundraising vehicle, GoFundMe, ended the campaign. The new site, called “Bitcoin for Truckers,” is hosted by a cryptocurrency crowdfunding service and had raised $946,000 as of Monday morning.

The Bitcoin campaign, which received more than 5,000 donations, mostly small dollars, was bolstered by a handful of big infusions of cryptocurrency boosters. The two largest, with a combined value of over $300,000 at the time of their manufacture, were donated anonymously.

A series of others worth around $42,000 each appear to be associated with an online challenge launched by a former software engineer who goes by the alias LaserHodl and asked other Bitcoin fans to join him in supporting the convoy of truckers. Jesse Powell, founder of crypto exchange Kraken, tweeted his agreementand a gift assigned to him appears in the data.

Benjamin Dichter, one of the organizers of the convoy, told a press conference last week that after the cryptocurrency crowdfunding campaign began, he received offers of help from “major players” in the crypto markets.

“I was shocked at how quickly I started receiving messages from some of the most prominent Bitcoiners in the world,” he said.

The GiveSendGo data leak was announced Sunday evening on a webpage titled “GiveSendGo IS NOW FROZEN”, along with a five-minute video in which a manifesto from the anonymous hackers scrolled across the screen. In it, the hackers complained that the truckers’ protest had ‘held a city hostage’ and warned that it ‘could cover up a type of Trojan horse attack where extremists and militias could arrive in a big way number with weapons”.

The data contains a record for each donation that includes the donor’s name, postal code, and email address they used. It’s not possible to independently verify every donation, but some do align with donations that appeared publicly on the GiveSendGo website before it was taken offline.

For example, Mr. Siebel was quoted last week by a Canadian news network, which noted that his name was listed with the $90,000 donation, at the time it was made, on the campaign’s webpage. of convoy. About half of the donations were not accompanied by a person’s name when they appeared publicly on the page.

GiveSendGo, which had previously been the target of another data breach revealing personal information, such as driver’s licenses and passports, for some site users, was offline Monday morning. The company did not respond to a request for comment.

Organizers launched a GiveSendGo campaign earlier this month after GoFundMe shut down an online fundraiser that raised nearly $7.8 million. The funds were to be used to “provide humanitarian assistance and legal support to peaceful truckers and their families,” GiveSendGo spokesperson Alex Shipley told The Times in an email last week.

Comments are closed.