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WikiLeaks Shop, the branch of non-profit publishing organization Wikileaks responsible for merchandising sales, announced on Friday that massive cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has banned their cryptowallet account.
The organization broadcast the news on their social media Twitter account with a screen image of the notice the exchange had sent them.
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 Shop is the whistleblower site’s outlet and sells a number of different Wikileaks branded items such as shirts, coffee mugs, and posters. Users are able to make purchases on the store’s site using credit card services or via a variety of cryptocurrencies If Coinbase shuts down access to the account, it could mean that the organization won’t be able to collect payment through the exchange in order to convert the money into dollars through the service.
Hours after the announcement was posted on the social media platform, a tweet came from the official WikiLeaks account calling for a boycott of the exchange’s services.
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
This sparked a reaction from prominent cryptocurrency figures who took to social media to comment on the issue. Bitcoin advocate and well-known blockchain enthusiast Andreas M. Antonopoulos points out that this the situation is dripping with irony – at the beginning of the decade, the US government had issued a banking blockade against Wikileaks which resulted in the organization turning to cryptocurrency at one of the most lucrative opportunities. Although not advocating for Coinbase, Antonopolous expressed disappointment in the exchange.
While I’m disappointed with Coinbase shutting access to Wikileaks, I’m not hating them or proposing any boycott.
Coinbase is the most bitcoin-friendly bank there is. Once you accept that they are a bank, it becomes easier to understand. If you need to use a bank, they’re it.
— Andreas M. Antonopoulos (@aantonop) April 21, 2018
Meanwhile, Coinbase has not given an explicit reason for the block or expressed which services Wikileaks might have violated. The exchange has declined to comment on the matter.