Founder of WikiLeaks Julian Assange has taken to Twitter to publicly thank the US government for denying access to credit card and banking systems in 2010. The goal was to prevent money from being funneled to WikiLeaks, but that plan may have ended up backfiring.
Assange claims that as a result of the financial blockade, WikiLeaks switched to accepting Bitcoin donations. Since July 2010, Assange says that he has achieved over a 50,000% return on investments. The Bitcoin address used by WikiLeaks has made of 26,000 transactions and has passed over 4,000 Bitcoins through it.
Bitcoin currently has a value of ~$7,200, making Assange's total donations worth as much as $29 million if no coins were spent. At this time, there is around $55,000 known to be stored in the WikiLeaks wallet.
My deepest thanks to the US government, Senator McCain and Senator Lieberman for pushing Visa, MasterCard, Payal, AmEx, Mooneybookers, et al, into erecting an illegal banking blockade against @WikiLeaks starting in 2010. It caused us to invest in Bitcoin -- with > 50000% return. pic.twitter.com/9i8D69yxLC— Julian Assange ? (@JulianAssange)
WikiLeaks now accepts several different cryptocurrencies in attempt to receive donations without using any US banking systems. Bitcoin, Litecoin, Zcash, and Monero are all accepted by the notorious leak site. Due to the nature of Zcash and Monero, it is impossible to know how much money WikiLeaks has received in either of the two currencies.
No matter your opinion on what should happen to WikiLeaks, the issue of funding potentially harmful groups is now more difficult than ever before. Even though cryptocurrency has many benefits, privacy focused features are fairly open to abuse by groups with nefarious causes. Without any regulation or oversight, creative ways to prevent harmful organizations from being funded may be necessary.