Canadian Truckers and the Blockchain: Without Arweave, News is Ephemeral

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Until recently, the protests of the Canadian truckers were debated everywhere in the online space. From politicians to celebrities, anyone seemed to have an opinion about the subject. The story faded because more gruesome deeds caught the attention of the world. Still, what happened there?

Long story short: at the start of the year, protests against vaccine mandates for crossing the US border broke out in Canada. Shortly after, those protests escalated against all the COVID-19 mandates and restrictions and took the form of a truck convoy called “Freedom Convoy” that enabled blockades at the Canadian border and then went for blockading the country’s capital, Ottawa. Their requests were straightforward: the immediate shut down of all the COVID 19 related restrictions and mandates. 

Even if this movement started as a way of expression of a minority within another minority (according to Wikipedia, from the total of 120000 licensed Canadian truckers, only 12000 were unvaccinated, and the majority of trucker unions dismissed the movement), the attention they received both from the part of the media and the Canadian Government was quite high.

I won’t continue dissecting the entire story further, but I will try to pinpoint an unsuspecting twist that linked this particular movement with the crypto world.

Bitcoin as a solution and further complications

In a move that should have cut the money stream for the protesters, the Canadian Government removed the funding campaigns conducted on centralized fiat platforms and froze the bank accounts of those involved. As a somehow logical reaction, the truckers started to use crypto. An initiative that began on Tallycoin platform raised 21 $BTC. In the process, the truckers were “coerced” to understand the difference between custodial and non-custodial wallets and how to avoid being tracked by the Government while using crypto. Even if Bitcoin succeeded in showing its censorship resistance side, some people contested the idea of linking their protest with crypto:

“Are we at a press conference for Freedom Convoy 2022 or having some guy shove Bitcoin down our throats?”

This kind of rigid refusal, coming from persons who needed help anyway, should make us think. Is crypto technology exclusively about “the new kind of money”? Promoting only “financial freedom”, didn’t make all the “crypto bros” sound like an unfortunate mixture of cultists and multilevel marketers in the eye of the average population?  

The implications of the continuous efforts conducted by states to centralize finances are undeniable; you can check this thread written by the Twitter user @punk6529 to understand how vital this aspect truly is.

Still, the majority of the people couldn’t care less about it if the first thing we’ll start to explain to them is how to operate personal non-custodial solutions.  

When crypto becomes more than just a decentralized ledger of transactions

But…in the end, what was all about? Was it about the frustration of years of unnatural human interactions generated by the pandemic restrictions? Was it about the people that started it? Was it about the oppressive side of governments? Was it about bitcoin offering the means to protest? 

We’ll never know. The account has already started to fade away. The public interest is captivated now with other headlines, the multi-layered architecture that represents the story of the Canadian truckers and their clash with the system begins to deconstruct. Tweets are deleted, files are erased; in a matter of years from the entire bulk of information about the subject will remain only distant recollections and sparse articles. 

Arweave’s place in the story

A story about how topics tend to be forgotten, unless Arweave happens…Whenever a crisis occurs, crypto enthusiasts will try to offer a helping hand more or less genuinely. Some initiatives stick, some do not. The “offer” rarely passes the decentralized, censorship-resistant nature of crypto transactions. In the process, ordinary people mostly fail to grasp the benefits. They are not particularly interested in “another kind of money”, in a tool that could be weaponized for “good” or “bad” causes alike. Their interest will be stirred most likely by articulated use-cases that go behind simple means to transact, use-cases that can’t be implemented with the already existing web2 stack of technologies.

Arweave is probably one of the few crypto initiatives that moves the focal point unequivocally from the blockchain itself to its real-life use-case: the indiscriminate storage of data for periods of time that were never achievable in the previous web iteration. 

Of course, it has all the bells and whistles a layer one blockchain solution it’s supposed to have, but those traits were never its core proposition. Arweave, as a technical construct, is not taking sides in the “heat of the moment”. The protocol only favors the undistorted storage and retrieval of thoughts, actions, and transactions on a holistic level. Each social event is multifaceted and unique. The more recent it is, the more emotionally involved we become. We tend to forget what we don’t like or don’t understand. Arweave addresses these issues. Store the facts, the hate, the misinformation from all the sides involved without a paternalistic approach of “we know better what the posterity should remember about this particular event“, and let the future researchers and historians, unbiased by the zeitgeist, decide. 

This is my hot take: the truckers didn’t genuinely need Bitcoin; they needed Arweave instead! Ultimately, disregarding whether they were right or wrong, they wanted to be heard, not to transact!

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