Julian Assange called bitcoin “the most intellectually interesting development in the last two years”.The founder of controversial whistleblower website WikiLeaks spoke via a WeChat Livestream at the annual technology and trends conference Net Prophet, which took place in Cape Town.
According to Assange, the next great innovation the world will see in the financial sector and bitcoin is likely to be involved.
The 42-year-old hacker noted that unlike the traditional financial systems, the digital currency doesn’t require laws to control it as the code provides correct transactions.
Assange supports financial systems that are not controlled by any authority. He said that the absence of regulations allow bitcoin to innovate and evolve more quickly.
According to Assange, it is necessary to understand that when speaking about innovations in the finance industry we talk about financial interactions. He called this concept “the abstraction of relationships”.
“What we are talking about is the interaction of finance: the abstraction of relationships between organisations and individuals and the quantifications of those relationships.”
Still, the innovative nature of virtual money and the diversity bitcoin is creating presents some difficulties for the financial sector. Several global banks even closed the accounts of companies working with the digital currency and blocked customer usage of bitcoin due to the potential risks of the cryptocurrency.
Assange considers that financial services will face a significant level of innovation in the future. In his opinion, the traditional model of the finance industry is not working now. He believes that bitcoin has the ability to disrupt the current financial system in a good way.
When asked about the rise of one dominant player in some aspects of the internet (think Google with search), Assange reckons the age of single dominance is problematic.
“I think that is a serious question — whether most things that most people use most of the time will be eaten up by a few dominant players.”
Assange said that not just financial institutions but all centralized organizations must be decentralized.
WikiLeaks founder spoke via video link from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he has been staying for more than 700 days while fighting extradition.
Since WikiLeaks revealed leaked diplomatic and military documents in 2010, Assange is under investigation by the US government. Moreover, the same year he was accused of sexual offences.
In 2013, after Assange supported the former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, bitcoin donations to WikiLeaks significantly increased. The crowd funding efforts of Assange raised more than $12,000 in bitcoin in two weeks.
In January, he published on Twitter that the most of the financing is provided by bitcoin and litecoin donations.