Coinbase blocks Wikileaks Shop, cites ‘violation’ but gives no explanation
The move was seen as one tainted with political influence, and seems similar to the bank blockade of 2011.
In a series of Tweets, the Wikileaks Shop said that Coinbase has suspended their account and banned them from the platform, citing a violation of their terms of service without providing any specifics as to what the violation was.
ANNOUNCE: Coinbase has blocked the official @WikiLeaks shop from its platform without notice or explanation. You can continue to donate #Bitcoin to WikiLeaks at https://t.co/lvhoyhlqUa. #Coinbase #DefendWL #Cryptocurrency #Ethereum #BitcoinCash #ReconnectJulian pic.twitter.com/4BSS023OOk
— WikiLeaks Shop (@WikiLeaksShop) April 21, 2018
The shop sells merchandise online, the profits from which are used to finance the operations of Wikileaks, as well as assist in its founder Julian Assange’s legal battle. The multi-award winning non-profit website has made a lot of enemies in its existence, fearlessly exposing controversial documents to the public, including those from the US government.
In 2011, the website released a statement saying their website has been barred by financial institutions, a form of retaliation instigated by offended politicians in an effort to intimidate the foundation and cut off their resources.
“WikiLeaks has published the biggest leaks in journalistic history. This has triggered aggressive retaliation from powerful groups. Since 7th December 2010 an arbitrary and unlawful financial blockade has been imposed by Bank of America, VISA, MasterCard, PayPal and Western Union. The attack has destroyed 95% of our revenue. The blockade came into force within ten days of the launch of Cablegate as part of a concerted US-based, political attack that included vitriol by senior right wing politicians, including assassination calls against WikiLeaks staff,” they wrote.
Blockchain expert Andreas Antonopoulos compared Coinbase’s recent ban against Wikileaks to this bank blockade, pointing out the irony in the fact that Wikileaks played a major role in increasing mainstream interest in Bitcoin after banks backed them into a corner.
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. https://t.co/b8HQkoOwyQ
— Andreas M. Antonopoulos (@aantonop) April 21, 2018
Coinbase’s move was seen as one tainted with political influence, and some say it demonstrates the centralization and control the government has over the exchange. In response to the move, Wikileaks has called for a boycott of the platform.
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. https://t.co/PAldF8b12P
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) April 21, 2018
It should also be noted that Coinbase is in the middle of yet another boycott call from other companies after they decided to remove certain merchant tools to urge merchants to use their newly launched Coinbase Commerce. Reddit has already dropped BTC as a payment option on the site following Coinbase’s announcement.