Coinbase blocks WikiLeaks contributions; supporters claim it’s a move to stop people supporting access to information.
2 hrs ago
Coinbase emphasized that it is “legally obligated to implement regulatory compliance mechanisms” under the US Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, with which the exchange is registered. But Twitter users call it a political move, and link the Coinbase decision to the lawsuit against WikiLeaks initiated by Democratic National Committee for its alleged involvement in a Trump-Russia conspiracy and a role it played in Clinton’s failed presidency campaign, .
Very convenient for the U.S. to be able to disable funding for anyone they disagree with simply by citing ALLEGED money laundering.
— Tycoon (@investgeek) April 22, 2018
No wonder that the official WikiLeaks Twitter, with about 5.6 million of followers, furiously reacted to the news and has called for a “global blockade” of the exchange next week and accused Coinbase of “responding to a concealed influence.” Some of Wikileak’s supporters also claimed that they would leave Coinbase in response as this ban goes against the spirit of cryptocurrencies that were born to be free from any centralized influence and regulation.
No financial harm done
Now, after the Coinbase move, the site has lost access to one of the services enabling WikiLeaks to collect crypto payments and convert them into fiat money.
WikiLeaks, an international non-profit organisation notoriously famous for revealing and publishing secret and censored data, news leaks and information from anonymous sources, was founded by Julian Assange in 2006, and has always been dependent on donations to keep the site afloat. In 2011, it started accepting contributions in cryptocurrencies, and WikiLeaks Shop was created as an online marketplace where people could finance Wiki by purchasing various branded stuff such as t-shirts, phone cases, coffee mugs and posters, and paying for them with cryptocurrencies.
Fortunately for Wikileaks, it still will be able to accept cryptocurrency, but not through Coinbase’s system.
As one of the WikiLeaks shop staff members noted, “It’s a threat to WikiLeaks; a similar thing happened a few years ago when PayPal and MasterCard launched a blockade.”
Ironically, just last October Assange expressed his “deepest thanks to the US government” for the banking embargo that forced WikiLeaks to rely on Bitcoin which eventually brought the organization a 50,000% return. He also appealed to all Wiki supporters to make their donations in cryptocurrencies.