WikiLeaks Might Not Have Existed Without Bitcoin - Cryptography Consultant

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Bitcoin - Sputnik International
Coinbase, the world’s biggest bitcoin brokerage, has blocked Wikileaks from using the service prompting Wikileaks to call for a global boycott of Coinbase. According to statement from Wikileaks, Coinbase blamed the ban on US financial regulations. Sputnik discussed this with Peter Todd, an applied cryptography consultant.


Peter Todd: I mean it's not really surprising, it's just one of many things they've along these lines and many people in the bitcoin space would react by saying, "Well you shouldn't have been using Coinbase in the first place."

Sputnik: But isn't Coinbase like the number one cryptocurrency exchange in the United States pretty much?

Peter Todd: Sure, but in the United States it's tough to operate a cryptocurrency exchange, and I think they got number one in the States because they were willing to bend over backwards to make the US government happy.

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Sputnik: Cryptocurrency exchanges that are not as sensitive or that don't have such a low tolerance to any kind of scrutiny by anybody, are they less successful right now? I'm just wondering what's more important to the crypto community, is it more important that these companies are very flexible when it comes to implementing government directives?

Peter Todd: I think a good example is actually Kraken. Kraken recently got pushed back quite hard on a request by New York to go and give up a lot of very basic details on very short notice on their operations, and well Kraken told them pretty much that you don't have jurisdiction over us so we're just not going to do this, and their actions were lauded by that community, but if you want operate in the US, it's just difficult, so yes in the US Coinbase is very popular but that's due to lack of competition, it's not that people actually like their operation, whereas outside the US there is much more wider variety of exchanges and they're all very popular, much more popular than Coinbase.

READ MORE: Crypto No More? Coinbase Exchange Forced to Hand Over User Data to the IRS

Sputnik: And a lot of them don't work in the United States, you can't use them in the United States. Right?

Peter Todd: Yes, it's just a byproduct of the way US law works, the way US regulatory agencies work.

Sputnik: So Julian Assange has called for this global blockade of Coinbase, do you think that's going to work? Have you heard of much support behind this?

Peter Todd: Truth be told, I would say it's not going to work only because what he's called for is already something that everybody believes in anyway. He's not the first person to go and state something along this line, don't use Coinbase. I've not recommended that people use Coinbase for a long time, so I think it won't have much of an effect but only because there's sort of already is a blockade of Coinbase. For the traders who are trying to trade cryptocurrencies some of them are not going to care what the media or what others are saying and they're going to use Coinbase when it makes sense for their particular trade.

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Sputnik: Do you think the crypto sphere is really behind Wikileaks and Julian Assage?

Peter Todd: I think so, I personally use WikiLeaks as an example of why bitcoin needs to exist. I know for a fact that if bitcoin had never existed there's a good chance that WikiLeaks wouldn't even exist today; fortunately for WikiLeaks they have many more options to receive money than they used to, because courts around the world in various jurisdictions and did the obvious thing and said that blockading WikiLeaks shouldn't happen. WikiLeaks is a whistleblowing website and why are we blockading it, there was a critical time when bitcoin was one of the their very few ways of getting money.

Sputnik: What can you say about the overall atmosphere in the US or the political climate when it comes to whistleblowers?

Peter Todd: I think it's still quite toxic. I think WikiLeaks is one of many examples where whistleblowers have been prosecuted; it's not hard to find examples, unfortunately it's just not changing and it really does need to, but we're just not seeing it happen.

The views of Peter Todd do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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