Canada's TD Bank says it plans to surrender approximately $1 million in un-refunded GoFundMe donations to the Freedom Convoy, as well as some $400,000 the group had accepted through direct donations.
On Friday, TD told CTV news that it would apply to surrender the funds to an Ontario court.
"TD has asked the court to accept the funds, which were raised through crowdfunding and deposited into personal accounts at TD, so they may be managed and distributed in accordance with the intentions of the donors, and/or to be returned to the donors who have requested refunds but whose entitlement to a refund cannot be determined by TD," said spokeswoman Carla Hindman.
The Convoy, meanwhile, plans to fight for their donations - and is now looking to raise funding via cryptocurrency.
Convoy lawyer Keith Wilson said that the group planned to fight to retrieve any money they had raised — and could be seen in a video promoting the group’s next play: a cryptocurrency fundraiser that has raised almost US$1 million.
“We will be taking expedited legal steps to have the restrictions on the donated funds lifted as soon as possible,” Wilson said in an email to CTV News. -CTV
"The principle philosophy of what Bitcoin is is freedom," says one organizer in a Facebook video. "For everyone who had their voice stolen by “GoFraudMe”, “GoFundMe,” you should feel solace that there are now alternatives."
According to Ontario court filings, Ottawa Police cited the video in their affidavit, referencing the convoy's crypto fundraising strategy.
According to the Globe And Mail, more than $500,000 has been raised by one Bitcoin wallet.
TD's move is the latest hurdle faced by the Convoy - which has occupied Ottawa and other border crossings for approximately two weeks in protest of vaccine and mask mandates - sparking protests worldwide in solidarity, as well as a state of emergency declared by Ontario Premier Doug Ford on Friday.
As CTV notes, of the roughly $10 million raised via GoFundMe, just $1 million was deposited before the fundraising site decided to cancel the campaign and refund the remainder.
Late Thursday, however, the Ontario Superior Court froze funds from these accounts, after the province's Attorney General alleged that the funds would further the criminal act of 'mischief on the streets' of Ottawa.
GiveSendGo says the order doesn't apply and is still collecting funds.