Wikileaks Shutdown by Coinbase
Apparently Julian Assange’s Wikileaks merchant account on Coinbase was shutdown. This is not at all surprising since PayPal, VISA, Mastercard and the banks did the same thing to him/them in the past. In all fairness I don’t think Coinbase is to blame, aside from the fact they are a US based company and under the jurisdiction of the US of course.
PayPal came out and admitted they were forced to close down Wikileaks account, and I am certain the same thing has happened with Coinbase.
They have no say in the matter when the US government comes knocking. Coinbase even recently had to give out information to the US tax department (IRS).
Of course users can still directly pay and donate to any wallets that Wikileaks controls. As of now he lists addresses for Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, ZCash and Monero. This is where things will heat up if he were to have a centralized currency like Ripple or Stellar Lumens. The US government could possibly have those accounts in XRP/XLM frozen since they are a US based company.
This comes down to the wider issue of privacy, rights and freedom online and how cryptocurrency can prevent persecution for political reasons. It also stands to reason that entities based in the US have very little say when the government comes knocking. Coinbase and PayPal couldn’t have said no to the US government or by doing so they would be in seriously hot water.
I always advocate having some IT resources out of the reach of PRISM countries for reasons of privacy and freedom. One of my current favorites are Singapore and Hong Kong in Asia. Hong Kong I place particularly high value on because it has the British based system, yet it is under the protection of China. Hong Kong is less likely to be influenced by a foreign entity than a smaller country like Singapore. A good example of this is how Edward Snowden miraculously made it out of Hong Kong as a wanted fugitive. Surely, Hong Kong was pressured and asked to hand him over, but somehow it never happened.
There are positives here, it looks like some brave entities in Europe have stood up for Wikileaks and at least for now, in France, Germany and Iceland there are some banks, foundations and even a University who are providing him access to the fiat system.