WikiLeaks Has Received Nearly $30,000 Worth of Bitcoin After Assange's Arrest

Francisco Memoria

Earlier this week, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he had been staying for seven years. Since the arrest, the organization he founded has now received over 5.6 BTC ($28,500) in donations.

According to the BBC, Assange took refuge in the embassy to avoid being extradited to Sweden, but his asylum was withdrawn by Ecuador’s president Lenin Moreno amid claims of international conventions violations. Now, Assange is facing US federal conspiracy charges related to government secret leaks.

Since news of his arrest broke, various prominent personalities, including politicians, actors, and models, have campaigned for his release, and pointed their followers to WikiLeaks’ donations page, which details it accepts traditional payment methods, as well as bitcoin and zcash.

Bitcoin donations have poured in, so much so the organization’s wallet saw its balance jump from 2.3 BTC to over7.9 BTC in a couple of days.

WikiLeaks' bitcoin wallet balance

After Assange’s arrest critics have voiced their concerns over governmental influences on press freedom, with both Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson noting it was a “dark day” for it.

As covered, press freedom organization Reports Without Borders revealed the arrest set a dangerous precedent for journalists and whistleblowers, as it shows the US may wish to pursue them in the future. Julian Assange and WikiLeaks’ work is award-winning journalism, as Snowden as pointed out.

Moreover, WikiLeaks has disputed Ecuador’s claims, claiming they’re “completely false.”

WikiLeaks Started Accepting Bitcoin Early On

It’s worth noting WikiLeaks was one of the first organizations in the world to accept bitcoin as an alternative currency, demonstrating the flagship cryptocurrency’s potential in the financial system.

The organization started accepting it after various financial institutions stopped serving it, as a way to keep on funding its journalism. WikiLeaks adopted BTC so early that its creator, Satoshi Nakamoto himself, expressed concern over the attention the cryptocurrency was getting.

In a post on the Bitcointalk Forum, Satoshi Nakamoto noted such attention would be good in a different context, but believed at the time that “WikiLeaks has kicked the hornet's nest, and the swarm is headed towards us.”

Back in 2017, during the bull market that saw bitcoin get close to $20,000, a Twitter account associated with Assange thanked the US government for the financial blockade against WikiLeaks that forced it to accept BTC. The tweet was posted when bitcoin was slightly above its current $5,090 price.

Data suggests WikiLeaks has over the years received 4,000 bitcoins in donations, totaling over $22 million. It’s worth pointing out that last year Coinbase banned its shop from its platform “without notice or explanation,” prompting the organization to consider calling a blockade against the exchange.

Unknown Fund Investing $75 Million in Bitcoin for the Development of Anonymity

  • Unknown Fund has pledged to donate and invest $75 million in bitcoin to promote the development of anonymity.
  • The fund will prioritize projects that protect personal data, including crypto and blockchain. 

An anonymous organization by the name of the Unknown Fund has pledged to donate and invest $75 million in bitcoin for the further development of privacy-focused projects. 

According to the press release published Nov. 13, Unknown Fund has announced an intention to invest and donate $75 million in BTC to “startups which directly or indirectly support the idea of anonymity.” The release claims the fund will give preference to projects focused on the protection of personal data, tools for anonymity, cryptocurrency and blockchain. 

An anonymous spokesperson for the fund said, 

We are you, we are your sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, friends and colleagues. Our ranks consist of representatives of many countries and nationalities, united by a virtual comradely spirit and the belief that we are fighting for the good of many, and not for the benefit of some. Anonymous is the voice of those who believe in truth, freedom and the right to self-expression.

The release claims the fund is comprised of “ordinary, anonymous people” from different countries who first met through collaborating on the forum 4chan. The group calls the protection of personal data “one of the main challenges for modern man” and claims that data collection has already been used as a powerful tool for manipulation. 

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