Wikileaks is calling for a boycott of Coinbase after the latter removed the former’s gift shop from its platform.
Coinbase is a major American cryptocurrency exchange. It has processed almost $280 million in trading volumes in the last 24 hours.
Wikileaks is a non-profit organisation that publishes sensitive information gained from anonymous sources. Its founder, Australian Julian Assange, has lived inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012 because the US wants to extradite and try him for his role in publishing classified documents, and if he leaves he will be arrested.
The WikiLeaks shop sells merchandise such as clothing, clocks, and mousepads and accepts a number of cryptocurrencies as payment. These cryptocurrency payments were published by Coinbase.
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Coinbase informed WikiLeaks on the 21st of April that the shop violates the exchange’s terms of service. No further explanation was given.
WikiLeaks published its first sensitive document in December 2006 – an assassination order signed by Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys of Somalia. Since then it has over the years published things such as classified information on Guantanamo Bay, the membership list of the British National Front, many cases of financial crime at banks, and more than ninety thousand documents pertaining to the war in Afghanistan. It is also suspected to have had a hand in shaping the outcome of the last US presidential election.
WikiLeaks has been boycotted before – in 2011 it had to be temporarily suspended when financial institutions decided to reject the organisation, refusing to process donations made to it. WikiLeaks lost 95 percent of its revenue in that situation, but there was a silver lining -it was forced to take payment in Bitcoin, leading to Assange to taunt: “My deepest thanks to the US government, Senator McCain and Senator Lieberman for pushing Visa, MasterCard, Payal, AmEx, Mooneybookers [sic], et al, into erecting an illegal banking blockade… It caused us to invest in Bitcoin — with > 50000% return.”
WikiLeaks has not taken this latest snub lying down – it is using Twitter to call for “a global blockade of Coinbase next week as an unfit member of the crypto community.”