WikiLeaks has received a donation of 8.48 BTC, worth over $280,000 at the time it was sent after a British judge ruled that its founder Julian Assange cannot be extradited to the U.S. to face charges of espionage.
The bitcoin transaction was first spotted by large transaction monitoring service Whale Alert, which identified the funds that were sent to WikiLeaks’ bitcoin donation wallet. WikiLeaks, it’s worth noting, accepts BTC, ETH, and ZEC donations.
The organization is known to receive large cryptocurrency donations after it makes headlines. In April 2018, after Julian Assange was arrested at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he had been staying for seven years, Wikileaks received 5.6 BTC in donations, at the time worth about $28,500. Those coins are now worth $177,800.
Assange’s extradition to the U.S. was denied not because of his defense team’s work, as its arguments were shut down by district judge Vanessa Baraitser, who agreed his alleged activities fell outside the realm of journalism, The Guardian reports.
Instead, the judge denied extradition based on evidence from medical experts who gave “an overall impression of a depressed and sometimes despairing man,” and as such it “would be oppressive to extradite [Julian Assange] to the United States of America” given his mental condition.
WikiLeaks, it’s worth noting, was one of the first organizations to accept bitcoin donations. In December 2010, Bank of America, VISA, MasterCard, PayPal, and Western Union imposed a financial blockade on WikiLeaks. At the time the bitcoin community was still small and cheered it as an opportunity for the flagship cryptocurrency’s adoption to grow.
Bitcoin’s creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, argued against WikiLeaks’ adoption at the time, saying it could destroy the crypto community at the time. Satoshi said:
The project needs to grow gradually so the software can be strengthened along the way. I make this appeal to WikiLeaks not to try to use Bitcoin. Bitcoin is a small beta community in its infancy. You would not stand to get more than pocket change, and the heat you would bring would likely destroy us at this stage.
In a follow-up post, Satoshi noted that it would “have been nice to get this attention in any other context.” Per his words, WikiLeaks “kicked the hornet’s nest, and the swarm is headed towards us.” A few days later, Satoshi would make his final post on the Bitcointalk forums before disappearing.
Featured image via Pixabay.