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According to the BBC, Assange took refuge in the embassy to avoid being extradited to Sweden, but his asylum was withdrawn by Ecuador’s president Lenin Moreno amid claims of international conventions violations.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

Roger Ver Shows Interest in Buying Satoshi Nakamoto's Original Bitcoin Website

Bitcoin.com founder Roger Ver has shown interest in buying the Bitcoin.org website, which was originally registered by Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto and developer Martii Malmi.

As CryptoGlobe reported, on a GitHub post Cobra Bitcoin, the pseudonymous co-owner of Bitcoin.org, has announced he will be gradually reducing his involvement with the website and leave it “in trusted hands.”

In his original post Cobra noted he had some people in mind, but asked for individuals or organizations that could be a good fit to maintain the website, which is currently being used to onboard new users into the flagship cryptocurrency and ranks highly for the term “bitcoin” on search engines.

Cobra has been widely criticized in the cryptocurrency community proposing changes to Satoshi Nakamoto’s original Bitcoin whitepaper, and has seen mixed reactions to his announcement of reducing his involvement in the website. On Reddit, one user asked whether he would sell the website to Roger Ver.

Roger, taking advantage of the opportunity, responded via his MemoryDealers handle to say he has “cash in hand,” showing interest in acquiring the domain. Ver is well-known for running Bitcoin.com and campaign in favor of bigger blocks on the Bitcoin blockchain. In August 2017, he moved his support to Bitcoin Cash (BCH).

Speaking to CoinTelegraph, Ver noted he would “gladly buy” the Bitcoin.org website, but does not expect Cobra to sell it to him. He added he hasn’t made any efforts outside of that comment to buy the domain. As to who would be best suited to take over Bitcoin.org, he said:

Maybe a Bitcoin Foundation-like organization that is made up of the businesses building on crypto. The [Electronic Frontier Foundation] EFF might not be bad either. Anyone who supports free expression of ideas would be better than the current group.

When asked what he would use the domain for, he said it would be used to promote “peer-to-peer electronic cash systems.” Ver asserted, however, he hasn’t put much thought into it as he doesn’t expect to be given a chance to buy the website.

Featured image via Bitcoin.org.