International whistleblowing organization WikiLeaks has published classified media and news leaks since it was founded in 2006. In 2011 – due to a payment blockade from traditional finance services – the nonprofit started accepting bitcoin. Since this time the group has accumulated a massive $2.9 million in bitcoin donations.
WikiLeaks has been in the headlines this past year as it released thousands of documents related to the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The agency leaks classified information that typically shows corruption from corporate entities and governments. The website was created by Australian cypherpunk and activist Julian Assange. It has a substantial amount of logged data concerning the Afghan War, the Iraq War, Guantanamo Bay, governments worldwide, and a trove of implicating documents.
In 2011 Bank of America, Visa, Mastercard, and Paypal ceased allowing donations to WikiLeaks through their services. The news shocked the world, and many wondered how the organization would keep operations rolling. Thankfully bitcoin came to the rescue as WikiLeaks announced over Twitter on June 14, 2011, it would be accepting the cryptocurrency. Since that time, the nonprofit has collected over 4,000 bitcoin through its donation wallet.
WikiLeaks and Bitcoin Helped Each Other
Many cryptocurrency enthusiasts attribute WikiLeaks adding bitcoin donations to the currency’s increased value over 2011-2012. However, as Julian Assange detailed in September of 2014 during a Reddit AMA, the cryptocurrency helped WikiLeaks as well.
The AMA discussion touched topics like politics and Google, but the conversation then turned to Bitcoin. However, it seems due to some controversy WikiLeaks waited until June 14, 2011 to use bitcoin against the banking blockade. Assange stated during his AMA that the cryptocurrency’s blockchain was a radical cryptographic experiment.
Bitcoin is an extremely important innovation, but not in the way most people think. Bitcoin’s real innovation is a globally verifiable proof of publishing at a certain time. The whole system is built on that concept and many other systems can also be built on it. The blockchain nails down history, breaking Orwell’s dictum of ‘He who controls the present controls the past and he who controls the past controls the future.’
The Importance of Whistleblowers, Activism, and Censorship Resistant Funding
To a lot of people, organizations like WikiLeaks are very important in a society full of political and economic scandals. People give a lot of credit to whistleblowers like Assange, Chelsea Manning, and Edward Snowden for uncovering fraudulent activities.
According to WikiLeaks, the organization’s mission is to make the world more transparent. The goal is “to bring important news and information to the public. One of our most important activities is to publish original source material alongside our news stories so readers and historians alike can see evidence of the truth,” says WikiLeaks.
Cryptocurrencies are a great tool to help WikiLeaks and other organizations threatened by banking sanctions. There is no government or corporate entity like Visa and PayPal that can shut Bitcoin down. The currency’s network has continued to operate non-stop 24/7 for several years.
Bitcoin offers a censorship resistant alternative to traditional payment methods. Over the years the cryptocurrency has helped fund WikiLeaks and many other individuals and groups who face geopolitical turmoil.
What do you think about WikiLeaks accumulating over 4,000 BTC for donations? Let us know in the comments below.
Images via Shutterstock, Twitter, and Pixabay.
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