Coinbase has suspended Wikileaks’ shop account, the whistleblowing website has said. The account allowed Wikileaks to receive payment for items such as t-shirts, posters, phone cases and other merchandise in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. Wikileaks could then convert the payments into dollars within Coinbase.
The arrangement has for a long time allowed Wikileaks to circumvent barriers designed to suffocate its operations. Cryptocurrencies have provided an important lifeline for the company after being cut off by payment providers.
Last year, its founder Julian Assange claimed it had made a profit of 50,000% from their cryptocurrency investments dating back to 2010.
Coinbase claims the company was in violation of its terms of service according to a statement allegedly sent to Wikileaks.
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
“Upon careful review, we believe your account has engaged in prohibited use in violation of our Terms of Service and we regret to inform you that we can no longer provide you with access to our service,” the statement said.
Coinbase did not specify the nature of the violation. According to Coinbase, the service is regulated under the US Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. FinCEN as it is called was created to combat money laundering through “collection, analysis and dissemination of financial intelligence.”
Wikileaks is planning to retaliate against Coinbase by calling for a “global blockade” against the company. Coinbase is “an unfit member of the crypto community,” the company says.
It will now be left with the difficult task of handling transactions including conversions into fiat currencies.
Wikileaks is notorious for leaking secret government documents bringing to light some of the biggest scandals around the world.