WikiLeaks Bitcoin Donations Skyrocket: Assange Thanks U.S. Government
In his book, Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet, Julian Assange, editor-in-chief of and visionary behind WikiLeaks, the international non-profit organization that publishes secret information, news leaks, and classified media provided by anonymous sources, argues that as “entire societies move online, mass surveillance programs are being deployed globally.”
The underlying theme of his message involves encryption, the notion that it’s easier to encrypt information than decrypt it. As he remarks in his book:
“If we do not (protect humanity from these surveillance efforts), the universality of the internet will merge global humanity into one giant grid of mass surveillance and mass control.”
Following WikiLeak’s massive release of secret U.S. diplomatic information in November 2010, the US government forced third-party payment processors like Bank of America, VISA, MasterCard, PayPal and the Western Union to stop supporting donations to WikiLeaks in December of that year.
As a result, WikiLeaks decided to circumvent this blockade by accepting bitcoin as its primary form of payment. And as reported by BTCManager earlier in 2017, WikiLeaks elected to add the privacy-focused cryptocurrency zcash to its cache of payment options.
While WikiLeaks decision to accept cryptocurrencies definitely raised a few eyebrows, it has turned out far more handsomely than Assange and his team may have imagined. This fact is supported by the recent revelation that site donations utilizing bitcoin since 2010 have yielded a 50,000 percent return to date.
Now WikiLeaks is arguably a strong proponent of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. In fact, in an October 14 tweet on the social messaging site Twitter, Assange commented:
“My 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. It caused us to invest in Bitcoin — with > 50000% return.”
Because bitcoin became their primary means of accepting donations, Assange and his team reportedly started investing in it as well. Given the fact that bitcoin is global, censorship-resistant, can’t be controlled by financial institutions, central governments, or other third-parties, it appears to be a perfect match for the WikiLeaks model.
At the end of the day, bitcoin is proving its sustainable worth through high-profile organizations like WikiLeaks. As a result, it will be fascinating to witness the future trajectory of this king of cryptocurrency. In the meantime, Assange and his group of cohorts are undoubtedly glad that they were forced into to using it.