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Assange thanks USA for forcing him to invest in booming Bitcoin

Banking blockade has actually enriched WikiLeaks

Endurance couch-surfer and WikiLeaker-in-chief Julian Assange has thanked US authorities for the banking blockade that made it hard to donate fiat currencies to his organisation, because it inadvertently enriched the organisation.

The blockade first appeared in 2010, after the United States expressed its ire at WikiLeaks' publication of diplomatic cables. Not long afterwards, Mastercard and Visa stopped processing donations sent to the site.

WikiLeaks sued and won against Visa, but the blockade persisted. The organisation therefore sought alternative funding including Bitcoin.

Which brings us to an Assange Tweet from Sunday, as follows.

As you can see, Assange claims that being forced to use Bitcoin turns out to have been a blessing in disguise. His organisation's finances are, however, opaque, so we don't know if WikiLeaks owns one Bitcoin or hundreds, and therefore whether its investment has left it vastly better-resourced or just pleasingly cashed-up.

Assange may also come to regret his Tweet. The Register has often heard it observed that ransomware was possible years ago, but only became common once cryptocurrency lowered the risk of being apprehended. Cryptocurrency was also used by drug souk Silk Road and is now being surreptitiously mined by mischievous web pages [that appear to have rather liked El Reg's 2017 April Fool's gag - Ed].

There are many entirely legitimate roles for cryptocurrency, but with Russia restricting access to Bitcoin exchanges and South Korea barring initial coin offerings, it's clear that cryptocurrency will soon attract more regulation that has clear potential to see their more risqué users at risk. ®

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