In one fell swoop, US-based cryptocurrency trading platform Coinbase has blocked WikiLeaks Shop from transacting on the exchange.
As a result, Coinbase “can no longer process brokerage orders via their banking relationship,” according to a letter sent to WikiLeaks that was published in Gateway Pundit.
According to WikiLeaks on Twitter, the move was sudden and Coinbase offered no explanation. WikiLeaks has directed its Twitter followers to donate bitcoin on the website, where other digital currencies including Litecoin, Zcash, Monero and Ethereum are listed with the message that “additional cryptocurrency options will be announced.”
Below is the tweet by WikiLeaks Shop. Notice the added the hashtag #ReconnectJulian, which is in reference to WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange’s internet access having been suspended in the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he resides.
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
WikiLeaks isn’t taking the ban sitting down and is calling for a “global blockade” of Coinbase.
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
WikiLeaks Shop’s followers were quick to defend the controversial publishing site, with some of them saying that they would leave Coinbase in response.
Gateway Pundit reports that the WikiLeaks Shop has been blocked from receiving cryptocurrency payments since March, about the same time that Assange lost access to the web. WikiLeaks staff reportedly reached out to Coinbase for an explanation but appears to remain dissatisfied with a lack of details surrounding the decision.
“It’s a threat to WikiLeaks, a similar thing happened a few years ago when PayPal and MasterCard launched a blockade,” according to a staff member at the WikiLeaks shop cited in Gateway Pundit.
Coinbase, which is registered with the US Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, only said that the WikiLeaks account “had engaged in prohibited use in violation of our terms and service and we regret to inform you that we can no longer provide you with access to our service.” The WikiLeaks shop was then advised to redirect its remaining balance to an external digital wallet.
WikiLeaks, which was founded by Assange in 2006, depends on donations to keep the site running so that it can continue to publish censored data. The WikiLeaks Shop is where you can buy WikiLeaks merchandise such as t-shirts, hoodies and an Edward Snowden “blow the whistle” poster. They also have a CryptoKitties promotion running. The website says they accept payments via CoinPayments.net.
Coinbase’s decision to shut down WikiLeaks Shop’s account occurs even as rival Robinhood Crypto is making an expansion push into the United States, with the trading platform most recently having opened in the state of Colorado. Perhaps some of the disgruntled Coinbase users will be jumping ship.
Featured image from Shutterstock.