Cryptocurrency payment processor Coinbase has banned the WikiLeaks Shop without providing them with any explanation, an action reminiscent of the previous PayPal blockade against the publisher which drew intense backlash.
The Gateway Pundit spoke to someone involved with running the shop who has asked that we keep their identity anonymous for security reasons. They explained that their crypto payments have been cut off since March 22, just days before WikiLeaks founder had his internet blocked by the Ecuadorian government.
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
When asked by Gateway Pundit why the payments were cut off, the person from the shop explained that they have no idea. “We asked them why numerous times, made numerous phone calls.” They only received a form letter in response.
The response, provided to the Gateway Pundit, explained that they are “a regulated Money Services Business under FinCEN (FinCEN.gov), and as part of our responsibility, we are legally obligated to implement regulatory compliance mechanisms.”
FinCEN is the financial crimes enforcement network of the US Department of the Treasury.
“We regret to inform you that we are no longer able to support your Coinbase account as well as any other accounts you may have created. Please note, we have not blocked access to the balance currently in your Coinbase account; while we can no longer process brokerage orders via our banking relationship, you may still send your balance offsite to an external address,” the email continued. “There are a variety of factors which have been weighed in your case, and we unfortunately are unable to elaborate on our internal decision process. Please know that we do not make these decisions lightly, and do regret losing you as a customer.”
The person involved with the shop explained to the Gateway Pundit that this should not be taken lightly.
“It’s a threat to WikiLeaks, a similar thing happened a few years ago when PayPal and MasterCard launched a blockade,” they explained.
The WikiLeaks Shop provides t-shirts, hoodies and other merchandise which supports their journalistic efforts. It is run by a valid Canadian business and licensing fees are paid to WikiLeaks, so nothing they are doing is in violation of any laws.
“We didn’t even have any banks hooked up to Coinbase. They had no reason to ban us, and if they did they didn’t give us any warning or explanation,” the person noted.
In 2010, following their famous Iraq and Afghan War Logs release, PayPal said in a statement that WikiLeaks violated its acceptable use policy, “which states that our payment service cannot be used for any activities that encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to engage in illegal activity.”
After banning WikiLeaks from their service, PayPal faced massive backlash including DDOS attacks and a boycott. The outrage was so strong that they were eventually forced to restore the publisher’s service.
“I don’t think Coinbase understands the potential ramifications of them banning WikiLeaks Shop. It will be seen as banning WikiLeaks itself. Our supporters who are also strong supporters of bitcoin may potentially be very displeased to hear that Coinbase has banned us and not given us a reason,” our WikiLeaks shop source explained. “When PayPal and MasterCard blockaded WikiLeaks organization they faced immense backlash and subsequently reversed their action.”
Coinbase has not responded to Gateway Pundit’s request for comment at time of publishing. We will update this story if one is provided.