Wikileaks has called for a global embargo on Coinbase after the platform terminated @Wikileaks’ account. In a move reminiscent of previous corporate and regulatory reaction and influence surrounding the Wikileaks phenomenon, the Coinbase exchange has written to the Wikileaks shop advising them of the closure of its account.
The Wikileaks shop claims that the suspension came without notice or prior indications of anything amiss. The shop employs the Coinbase exchange for its cryptocurrency transactions. Now, Wikileaks is branding Coinbase “as an unfit member of the crypto community,” and calling for all parties to desert the platform, based on its unseemly, authoritarian behavior.
Coinbase joins Google, Facebook and other giants who succumb to pressure
Wikileaks said on April 20, 2018, that “Coinbase has blocked the official @Wikileaks shop from its platform without notice or explanation.” Trading in apparel, phone accessories, books, posters and stickers, the online store also recently started offering Cryptokitties as part of its lineup.
Clearly flabbergasted by what has transpired, the Wikileaks shop also made part of the letter they received public in a bid to support their assertion that the suspension was unethical and a result of malicious targeting of Wikileaks per se, by parties still aggrieved by the original emergence of the outfit. Wikileaks rose to fame years ago when it released streams of supposedly confidential but often revealing military and other government information of various countries around the world.
The letter received by the Wikileaks shop made reference to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (Fincen). A part of the published excerpt reads: “Coinbase is a regulated Money Service Business under Fincen,” and as such it is “obligated to implement regulatory compliance mechanisms.”
Coinbase claimed that, “Upon careful review,” the company felt that @Wikileaks’ account has “engaged in prohibited use in violation of our Terms of Service,” and went onto to “regret to inform [@Wikileaks]” that the exchange would no longer be able to provide services to their apparently formerly good client. The letter then goes on to detail instructions for Wikileaks to immediately withdraw whatever its remaining balance might be, in order to exit the platform.
“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,” the letter concludes.
The polite tone has only further enraged @Wikileaks as it claims the essence is missing – the real reason for the termination – as no misconduct has been recorded in the past. It would appear that there is some spurious influence at play in the background, an undisclosed manipulative hand that remains unidentified in all of the comms it has received.
Antonopoulos weighs in on the issue
As Wikileaks started calling for a global “blockade” of Coinbase, Andreas Antonopoulos, the best-selling Bitcoin author, weighed in on the issue by saying that “We have come full circle. Many people’s interest in Bitcoin started when Wikileaks was out under an extrajudicial embargo by Visa, Mc, Paypal and banks. Now Coinbase has repeated history. Oops.”
In the cryptocurrency community, a low-key battle has quietly taken shape at the interface between vested interests and the democracy and ease of blockchain currencies. Although Wikileaks has other issues to face at the moment, the accepted understanding across the world within the community, however, is that existing asset sectors will fight back when cryptocurrencies hurt their interests, but that this kind of authoritarian perversion of blockchain’s value needs to be named, shamed and avoided at all costs. Where exactly Coinbase’s recent machinations fit in isn’t clear, but their behavior is anathema to the majority of the cryptocurrency community.
Responding to Coinbase’s actions, Wikileaks announced that it will call for a worldwide censure of Californian Coinbase, noting that its management had approved the decision yet obscured the rationale behind the move. Antonopoulos added that the Coinbase action was “purely symbolic, unlike the first embargo. Now [Wikileaks has] many options [to find a new exchange]. But the symbolism is a pretty poignant reminder of what centralization and banking regulations mean.”
Antonopoulos was referring to a 2010 blockade of global, fiat Wikileaks payments, something that pushed the company to an early and public championing of Bitcoin. Six days prior to the maverick Satoshi Nakamoto’s silent exit from the community, a debate on the Bitcointalk forum was raging between Bitcoin founder Nakamoto and others who were promoting the notion of Bitcoin being embraced by Wikileaks.
This poignant moment in time has been immortalized in Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s book “When Google met Wikileaks.” It has always since been speculated that Nakamoto left in large part due to the pending politicization of his digital coin.
Cheapair.com, a Coinbase vendor, has announced that it is quitting the platform, ostensibly after Coinbase announced recent amendments to merchant services. Coinbase is now no longer supporting custodial merchant processing solutions but has replaced them with a free, non-custodial solution. Cheapair.com has said it is exiting the platform as the new changes no longer enable its best interests nor the ease of use of its clients.