The founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, has posted a tweet thanking United States government officials and the financial institutions that refused services to Wikileaks for driving them to invest in bitcoin during 2010. Assange’s tweet indicates that Wikileaks’ bitcoin holdings have seen gains of over 50,000%.
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Julian Assange Has Thanked the U.S. Government for Forcing Wikileaks to Invest in Bitcoin During 2010
On the 14th of October, Julian Assange expressed his “deepest thanks to the US government, Senator McCain and Senator Lieberman for pushing Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, AmEx, Moneybookers, et al, into erecting an illegal banking blockade against @Wikileaks starting in 2010.” Assange stated that the financial embargo “caused [Wikileaks] to invest in Bitcoin,” which has generated the organization a more than “50000% return.”
Wikileaks became the subject of financial blockage in 2010 after the organization released classified U.S diplomatic cables pertaining to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars in November of that year. As a consequence, Bank of America, VISA, MasterCard, PayPal and Western Union collectively refused to provide financial services to the organization. As a consequence, Wikileaks was forced to incorporate bitcoin into its financial operations, including accepting private donations in the form of bitcoin.
The Organization Has Been Donated Approximately 4,025 Bitcoins Since 2010
The prospect of Wikileaks adopting bitcoin during the infancy of cryptocurrency was met with mixed reactions by key figures within the bitcoin community. In response to a bitcointalk.org forum comment stating “…bring it on. Let’s encourage Wikileaks to use bitcoins”, the creator of bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, requested that Wikileaks avoid adopting bitcoin, in what would come to be his second last post on the forum. On December 5, 2010, Satoshi wrote “no, don’t ‘bring it on’. The project needs to grow gradually so the software can be strengthened along the way. I make this appeal to Wikileaks not to try to use bitcoin. Bitcoin is a small beta community in its infancy. You would not stand to get more than pocket change, and the heat you would bring would likely destroy us at this stage.” As a consequence of the controversy, Wikileaks did not accept bitcoin donations until June 2011.
During August 2012, it was reported that Wikileaks’ had received more than 1,100 bitcoin donations – at that time equating to over $32,000 USD. With the price of bitcoin then sitting at approximately $10 USD, Wikileaks owned more than 3200 bitcoin in just over one year of accepting the cryptocurrency. In November 2016, Wikileaks surpassed the milestone of having received more than 4000 bitcoins in donations.
Last week, the price of a single bitcoin broke out above $5000 USD for the first time ever, before setting a new all-time high of $5920 USD on Bitfinex. The dramatic breakout follows several weeks of consolidation after a sudden retracement of almost 40%, which was triggered by the initiation of China’s crackdown on cryptocurrency exchanges.
Do you think that Wikileaks’ adoption of bitcoin was ultimately beneficial to the bitcoin ecosystem in the long term? Or do you think that Wikileaks shouldn’t have risked drawing the attention of regulators during bitcoin’s infancy? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, WikiLeaks.org
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