What Is WikiLeaks?
WikiLeaks is a central hub for publications of censored and/or highly restrictive documentation. Leaks such as Vault7 have revealed highly confidential CIA documents, and the website is also responsible for the exposure of Hillary Clinton’s emails, which she had sent from a private email server while Secretary of State. These revelations would have been impossible without the effort of WikiLeaks to keep government actions open and transparent.
Since the WikiLeaks organization runs as not-for-profit, the site maintains itself through user donations. The donation options have been improved to be more inclusive of cryptocurrencies as a way to keep users’ identities safe. Initially, WikiLeaks began accepting Bitcoin donations but have since added additional cryptocurrency options. These include Monero and ZCash, allowing users to send anonymous donations to support their whistleblowing efforts.
The non-profit organization has been receiving tax-deductible donations through Freedom of the Press Foundation (FPF) ever since Visa, Mastercard, and PayPal blocked support for WikiLeaks in 2011/2012. WikiLeaks also accepts online donations through the German non-profit Wau Holland, starting in mid-January 2018.
Donations to WikiLeaks are also possible using the privacy/anonymity enhanced cryptocurrency, ZCash, as the option was made available on the WikiLeaks website in August 2017.
Along with the purpose of supporting the site through donations, readers of WikiLeaks can purchase merchandise, including clothing, stickers, and posters, to support the organization’s cause. Payment methods also include various cryptocurrencies, which reassures new users looking to conceal their identities that they won’t have to use traditional payment methods.
Cryptocurrency has long been favored by people looking to make anonymous monetary exchanges. Charlie Lee, Founder of Litecoin, spoke about the censorship resistance attribute of Bitcoin and Litecoin:
“Whenever I want to show the censorship resistance feature of Bitcoin/Litecoin, I make a donation to WikiLeaks. No company or government can stop me. That’s what makes crypto-currency valuable! @JulianAssange @wikileaks”
CryptoKitties Make It Onto WikiLeaks
On December 21, 2017, WikiLeaks revealed the arrival of purebred WikiLeaks CryptoKitties. Each of these virtual cats is unique and Ethereum-based, and can be used as a medium for online donations. Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, said the following about the new integration of CryptoKitties into the website platform:
“Cryptography is not only transforming the global financial system, it is generating creative innovation in a vast array of human interaction. WikiLeaks likes cats and wants to help bring cryptocurrencies and smart contracts into the mainstream. Donors and crypto-kitty enthusiasts can empower WikiLeaks by bidding for one of our cute purebred cryptographic kittens. Newcomers will learn about the blockchain, acquire their very first cryptocurrency, and potentially even make a profit.”
WikiLeaks has bred two Generation 0 CryptoKitties named Mr. and Mrs. WikiLeaks. The goal is for WikiLeaks to continue breeding one kitten per week after their initial Christmas litter of 10, 8 of which are up for sale (the other 2, Trump’s Tender Tabby and Clinton Console Kitty, were given as gifts to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton). Every future purchase of a WikiLeaks CryptoKitty will serve as a direct donation to the WikiLeaks cause and allow the team to keep on thriving.
The decision to integrate CryptoKitties into the WikiLeaks donation platform was an innovative idea fueled by the organization’s support for cryptocurrencies. Due to the scarcity of the kittens, their monetary value will hopefully appreciate, following a supply and demand scenario. Not only does the offer of CryptoKitties add another payment option for prospective donors, but it also allows new users who aren’t familiar with blockchain to learn about the cryptocurrency space.
WikiLeaks continues to serve as a not-for-profit library of restricted documentation for people who seek the truth. The organization relies heavily on its donations, and the strategic adding of CryptoKitties has incentivized WikiLeaks users to donate while at the same time inherently pushing the cryptocurrency space into the mainstream.