One of the Earliest Adopters of Bitcoin, Julian Assange Co-founder of Wikileaks ArrestedApril 11, 2019
After about seven years of evading the radar of the international enforcement agents and possible extradition to the United States, the famous whistleblower Julian Assange has been arrested in the Ecuadorian Embassy in the UK.
Julian Assange who is famously known for the release of classified documents which cast the then US Presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton in a bad light and possibly led to her losing the 2016 elections to her opponent President Donald J. Trump.
Julian has been in hiding and has sought Asylum status in Ecuador by taking refuge in her embassy running for a period of seven years citing extradition against a sexual assault charge and possible extradition to the United States where he lists among the most wanted men for his role in releasing classified documents which the United States cited was dangerous for national security.
The unfolding of this arrest event is however not entirely unrelated to the cryptocurrency and blockchain community especially as Wikileaks, an international whistleblower co-founded by Julian Assange was known to have been one of the early adopters of cryptocurrency and Bitcoin in particular after it faced financial blockade from mainstream financial giants like Paypal, VISA, Mastercard and others such as Bank of America. This happened as far back as 2011 when these financial pulled its plug on Wikileaks’ and Assange’s activities which were majorly funded by charity as it is a non-profit organization.
Wikileak in 2011 took to Twitter announcing it will start accepting donations in bitcoin, publishing its wallet which was to receive as much 4000 bitcoins from anonymous supporters all around who seemed to love what Wikileaks stood for.
While this came as a no-brainer, especially as many activists like Assange or even the rogue NSA operative Edward Snowden, claimed there is a coordinated attempt by central authorities to silence the voice of whistleblowers, Assange in an AMA held on Reddit lend credence to his decision to begin to accept donations in cryptocurrency stating
“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’”
Fast forward to 2019 more than a decade after Bitcoin was released, Vitalik also stated how important cryptocurrencies and the blockchain are to societal improvement citing a popular example where the de facto creator of bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto decided to embed a headline “The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks” in the first ever block that was mined call the Genesis Block. Vitalik says it was no ordinary and that it was for a reason. In his words
“You could argue that [Satoshi] was just trying to make a timestamp, but there are lots of ways to make a timestamp. This was clearly a statement that this is not just about making a peer-to-peer digital currency. This was really about something different and something greater.”
Vitalik’s statement above lends credence to Assange’s claim as far back as 2011 when Wikileaks started accepting donation in bitcoin.
As at press time, Wikileaks’ bitcoin wallet states zero balance and showing a total of 4042.852 bitcoins ever received into the wallet.