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According to the BBC, Assange took refuge in the embassy to avoid being extradited to Sweden, but his asylum was withdrawn by Ecuador’s president Lenin Moreno amid claims of international conventions violations.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.

Deloitte Luxembourg to Trial Bitcoin Payments for Staff Lunches

Neil Dennis

Deloitte, one of the so-called "Big Four" audit and consulting firms is to allow its staff to pay for their lunch in bitcoin, the Luxembourg Times reported on Tuesday.

While the firm does not plan to allow clients to pay for its services in bitcoin in the near future, the company said it was pleased to allow the lunchtime trial for its staff to "assess this new technology" in the company canteen.

While it doesn't transact in bitcoin, Deloitte has been active in developing blockchain technology for its fund management business.

PwC to Accept Bitcoin

The Luxembourg branch of Big Four rival, PwC, announced in early September it would accept bitcoin payments from its clients from the beginning of October. 

PwC said in a press release it was making the move to acknowledge the needs of its clients and the increasing adoption of crypto in Luxembourg. It added:

Our role is to lead and it is only by being an active leader with exposure that we at PwC Luxembourg can understand the challenges inherent to the crypto world.

 

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