Wikileaks, an online depository for leaked and often-classified documents has had its e-commerce account for its official merchandise store shut down by Coinbase, according to an announcement made on Twitter.
The Coinbase-based store sold Wikileaks branded merchandise such as t-shirts, mugs, posters and more. The products are still available on its shop and are available for purchase using traditional methods such as VISA, Mastercard, or AMEX, but payment via cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin are now missing from the payment options.
According to the official Wikileaks Shop Twitter account, Coinbase has closed the account to comply with “regulatory compliance mechanisms” imposed by the US Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). A review of Wikileaks found that the shop was “in violation of our Terms of Service,” according to a note provided by Coinbase.
Coinbase has been eager to comply with all US-based regulatory entities, and the company likely was facing increased pressure due to its relationship with Wikileaks.
The Assange-run Wikileaks has called for a “global blockade” and boycott of Coinbase, calling it “an unfit member of the crypto community.” Cryptocurrency’s early ideology was focused around circumventing existing financial regulations and systems, so by complying with government regulators and working against other entities that share that original crypto ideology is often seen as sacrilege in the community.
Ironically, as bitcoin author and activist Andreas Antonopoulos pointed out via Twitter that many people’s interest in bitcoin first began when Wikileaks was in a fierce battle with VISA and Mastercard back in 2010. Even Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is a well-known bitcoin supporter.
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