The relationship between Coinbase and WikiLeaks is deteriorating rather quickly. More specifically, Coinbase has blocked WikiLeaks from accepting Bitcoin payments through its store, although the real reason for that decision remains unclear. To retaliate, WikiLeaks has announced a “global blockade” of the payment processor, which will take place next week.
WikiLeaks and Coinbase Situation Worsens
A lot of people were surprised to find out that Coinbase has stopped processing Bitcoin payments for the WikiLeaks store. Even though that platform mainly sells WikiLeaks-related merchandise, Coinbase has deemed the shop a “violation of company policy”. It’s a very vague statement which leaves a lot of room for speculation, and the overall Bitcoin community is not amused by the payment processor’s decision.
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
Rest assured this situation will escalate in the future. WikiLeaks has made it clear it wants to enforce a global blockade on Coinbase in the coming week in order to point out that the payment processor and exchange are “unfit members of the cryptocurrency community”. There may be some merit to that statement, as this controversial decision has caused quite a stir.
According to WikiLeaks Shop, the decision by Coinbase to stop processing payments on its behalf was not explained in detail. Rather, they just received a general statement from the firm, which advised the team to move any remaining funds out of their account as quickly as possible. It is an unfortunate turn of events, as Bitcoin payments have been rather beneficial to WikiLeaks as a whole.
While it is commendable that Coinbase wants to adhere to the strict guidelines imposed upon it by FinCEN, this decision may hurt business in the long run. It is not necessarily a censorship-oriented move, but one could argue this sudden turn of events is rather worrisome.
Whether or not this is a sign that Coinbase wants to gain more control over the future of Bitcoin remains to be seen. Corporations and centralized institutions within the cryptocurrency world play an integral role, yet they also pose a significant problem in terms of shutting off individuals, companies, and so forth. Addressing that situation will not be easy, at least not until decentralized exchanges become the new normal.
Further information on the planned boycott is unknown. It is certainly true that WikiLeaks can cause quite a stir and make life pretty difficult by pointing out hidden agendas. While it seems Coinbase is primarily erring on the side of caution with its recent decision, the coming weeks will be rather interesting.