Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has taken to social media to say that the organisation has made a 50,000 percent return with bitcoin, and all thanks to the U.S. government.
Founded in 2006, WikiLeaks is a non-profit whistle blower site, which primarily relies on donations. However, in 2010, Assange claims that the U.S. government forced companies such as Visa and Mastercard to carry out an illegal banking blockade against the organisation. PayPal and American Express were also involved. Shunned by the banking world, WikiLeaks was reported to have lost ‘tens of millions of pounds in lost donations‘ between 2010 and mid-2011.
However, in a tweet over the weekend, Assange gave thanks to the U.S. government for getting companies to block payments to his company. Including a screenshot of bitcoin prices from the 18 July, 2010 and 14 October, 2017, the WikiLeaks founder states that the company’s investment in the cryptocurrency, as a result of the blockade, has garnered a 50,000 percent return.
WikiLeaks’ public donation address currently has 7.5 bitcoins, worth $42,870, and is proving to be a popular donation mechanism for the company. To date it has seen over 26,000 transactions over a six-year period.
When Assange initially revealed his organisation would accept the digital currency, bitcoin’s founder, Satoshi Nakamoto, appears to have been against it.
In 2010, Nakamoto said on bitcoin forum, Bitcointalk:
No, don’t “bring it on”. The project needs to grow gradually so the software can be strengthened along the way. I make this appeal to WikiLeaks not to try to use Bitcoin. Bitcoin is a small beta community in its infancy. You would not stand to get more than pocket change, and the heat you would bring would likely destroy us at this stage.
It seems, however, that Assange’s venture with the digital currency paid off for the non-profit company. In addition to receiving bitcoin donations, WikiLeaks revealed in August that it would also accept contributions from private-oriented Zcash.
This makes it the third digital currency WikiLeaks accepts, along with bitcoin and litecoin.