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Wikileaks Case: Crypto is Free until it Becomes a Part of the System?

WikiLeaks publically stands for free speech and opposes governmental control and supervision in any form, and this has resulted in bans, restrictions, political and financial pressure. On April 21, WikiLeaks Shop, the merchandise branch of the international organization WikiLeaks, reported on its Twitter that it had lost access to its Coinbase account with vague formulations about prohibited use and violation of terms and conditions..

While some people find WikiLeaks’ vision and mission controversial, to say nothing of the materials published on the web-site, most of them are outraged by the governmental emphasized that it is “legally obligated to implement regulatory compliance mechanisms” under the US Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, with which the exchange is registered. But Twitter users call it a political move, and link the Coinbase decision to the lawsuit against WikiLeaks initiated by Democratic National Committee for its alleged involvement in a Trump-Russia conspiracy and a role it played in Clinton’s failed presidency campaign, wonder that the official WikiLeaks Twitter, with about 5.6 million of followers, furiously reacted to the news and has called for a “global blockade” of the exchange next week and accused Coinbase of “responding to a concealed influence.”.

No financial harm done Now, after the Coinbase move, the site has lost access to one of the services enabling WikiLeaks to collect crypto payments and convert them into fiat money. WikiLeaks, an international non-profit organisation notoriously famous for revealing and publishing secret and censored data, news leaks and information from anonymous sources, was founded by Julian Assange in 2006, and has always been dependent on donations to keep the site afloat..

In 2011, it started accepting contributions in cryptocurrencies, and WikiLeaks Shop was created as an online marketplace where people could finance Wiki by purchasing various branded stuff such as t-shirts, phone cases, coffee mugs and posters, and paying for them with cryptocurrencies. Fortunately for Wikileaks, it still will be able to accept cryptocurrency, but not through Coinbase’s system..

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Wikileaks Store States Coinbase Has Shut Down Its Bitcoin Account

A claim by Wikileak’s official online store states that its account with Coinbase was suspended by the cryptocurrency exchange. In 2016, Wikileaks was central to a long string of international scandals before the presidential election according to the leaked document depository and it is now calling for a boycott of coinbase. Coinbase says that its primary goal is to make digital currency safe and secure for its customers.

According to reports, an unconfirmed announcement from Coinbase has irritated the Bitcoin community and also highlighted certain unavoidable tensions as cryptocurrency becomes increasingly commonplace. Wikileaks Shop claims to have received a note that was posted on Twitter from Coinbase that appears as if the cryptocurrency exchange cites U.S government financial regulations as one reason for the suspension.

Unwanted Business
A letter sent to Wikileaks by Coinbase states “Coinbase is a regulated Money Service Business under Fincen that is obligated to implement regulatory compliance mechanisms. Upon careful review, we believe your account has engaged in prohibited use in violation of our terms of service and we regret to inform you that we can no longer provide you with access to our service.” The letter continues to show the instructions that “We respectfully request that you follow the on-screen instructions presented when you log into your Coinbase account to send any remaining balance offsite to an external address.”

There are no indications that show how Wikileaks specifically violated the rules. Coinbase is concerned about Wikileaks to operate legitimately in order to prevent money laundering and other illegal activities.

Wikileaks Revenge
Wikileaks also responded immediately via a tweet upon receiving Coinbase’s notice and called for the crypto community to stop using the exchange until further notice. “Wikileaks will call for global blockade of Coinbase next week as an unfit member of the cryptocurrency community.

Coinbase, a large Californian Bitcoin processor, responding to a concealed influence, has blocked the entirely harmless @WikileaksShop in decision approved by management,” Wikileaks said.

The suspension by Coinbase will not stop Wikileaks from accepting payments or donations through Bitcoin though the organization may have to doom a lot of resources to handle its accounts directly and will find it more challenging to convert bitcoin to other currencies such as the dollar.

Prominent Bitcoin Users Worried
Bitcoin has gained a lot of popularity as it can be used to bypass or avoid existing financial regulations and systems including banks. Andreas Antonopoulos pointed out on twitter that many politically involved users were first attracted to Bitcoin as a way of donating to Wikileaks after being cut off in 2010 by traditional financial services.

Although Coinbase has attracted a lot of users to Bitcoin and many more crypto exchanges by providing an easy way for them to be bought and used, its status as a regulated U.S business means it must accord and agree with U.S financial regulations. Most Bitcoin advocates remain questioning and skeptical of Coinbase and other intermediaries due to the exposure and many act as caretakers of customers’ cryptocurrency, defensibly increasing systemic risk in an occurrence of their failure.

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