Wikileaks announced that Coinbase has blocked its official Wikileaks shop without notice or explanation. The organization will call for a global blockade of the cryptocurrency exchange and payment processor “as an unfit member of the crypto community.”
Coinbase Quits Wikileaks
Wikileaks announced on Friday that “Coinbase has blocked the official @Wikileaks shop from its platform without notice or explanation.”
The shop sells swag such as clothing, accessories, phone cases, stickers, posters, books, and has recently added Cryptokitties.
The organization also posted part of a letter they claim was sent to them from Coinbase which references the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (Fincen). The letter states that “Coinbase is a regulated Money Service Business under Fincen,” and is “obligated to implement regulatory compliance mechanisms,” adding:
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 then provides instructions for Wikileaks to withdraw its remaining balance. “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.”
Wikileaks Calls for Global Blockade of Coinbase
In response to Coinbase’s action, Wikileaks announced:
Wikileaks will call for a global blockade of Coinbase next week as an unfit member of the crypto community. Coinbase, a large Californian Bitcoin processor, responding to a concealed influence, has blocked the entirely harmless @Wikileaksshop in a decision approved by management.
Best selling Bitcoin author Andreas Antonopoulos commented, “We have come full circle. Many people’s interest in bitcoin started when Wikileaks was out under an extra judicial embargo by Visa, Mc, Paypal and banks. Now Coinbase has repeated history. Oops.”
He further elaborated, “It’s purely symbolic, unlike the first embargo. Now they have many options. But the symbolism is a pretty poignant reminder of what centralization and banking regulations mean.”
Antonopoulos is referring to the 2010 global payments blockade of Wikileaks which led the renegade news service to become one of the earliest and most public champions of Bitcoin. Six days before Satoshi Nakamoto mysteriously left the community, a debate broke out on the Bitcointalk forum between Nakamoto and those wanting Wikileaks to embrace Bitcoin. The event, described in Julian Assange’s book “When Google met Wikileaks,” is largely thought to be one of the reasons that Bitcoin’s creator left the project.
Recently, Coinbase also announced changes to its merchant services. The company will no longer support custodial merchant processing solutions, replacing them with a free, non-custodial solution. One vendor, Cheapair.com, has already announced that it is leaving Coinbase for this reason to seek a different payment processor for cryptocurrencies.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Andreas Antonopoulos, and Wikileaks.
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