‘Bitcoin and WikiLeaks Helped Keep Each Other Alive,’ Says Julian Assange

Julian Assange said during Ask Me Anything session set up to promote his new book that Wikileaks was asked by Satoshi Nakamoto not to use bitcoin for raising funds.

Julian Assange made a statement during the Reddit's 'Ask Me Anything' session, which was organized by WikiLeaks Founder to promote his new book called “When Google Met WikiLeaks.” Photo: Chris Wieland/Flickr

Julian Assange made a statement during the Reddit's 'Ask Me Anything' session, which was organized by WikiLeaks Founder to promote his new book called “When Google Met WikiLeaks.” Photo: Chris Wieland/Flickr

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange revealed that Satoshi Nakamoto asked him not to utilize digital currency to raise funds for Wikileaks in order to avoid unnecessary attention.

He made a statement during a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) session, which was organized by Assange to promote his new book called “When Google Met WikiLeaks.”

Although most of questions were related to politics, bitcoin was also discussed a few times. He said: “There’s lots on bitcoin in my book – on my thoughts on it, and on WikiLeaks’ history with it. [Google’s] Eric Schmidt and I conversed for a while about it, and I also included a lot of notes to expand on my views. It’s a fascinating and complex subject, so I can’t possibly go through all of it.”

Assange started thinking about the possibility of raising funds in bitcoin back in 2010. However, the idea was not supported by the bitcoin community as it could attract unwanted attention to the new currency. Still, some considered it could facilitate the cryptocurrency promotion.

In his new book Assange described Nakamoto’s position: “Basically, bring it on,’ wrote one poster. ‘Satoshi Nakamoto,’ the pseudonymous inventor of bitcoin, responded: “No, don’t ‘bring it on.’”

He continued: “The project needs to grow gradually so the software can be strengthened along the way. I make this appeal to WikiLeaks not to try to use bitcoin. Bitcoin is a small beta community in its infancy. You would not stand to get more than pocket change, and the heat you would bring would likely destroy us at this stage.”

He stated: “WikiLeaks read and agreed with Satoshi’s analysis, and decided to put off the launch of a Bitcoin donation channel until the currency had become more established.”

WikiLeaks started accepting bitcoin donations in June 2011. Assange has often spoke in favour of bitcoin. Earlier he said bitcoin is “the most intellectually interesting development in the last two years” and added that the next important innovation in the financial sector will involve bitcoin.

During AMA session, Assange noted that bitcoin could be used for different purposes, not only for payments. He explained: “Bitcoin is an extremely important innovation, but not in the way most people think. Bitcoin’s real innovation is a globally verifiable proof publishing at a certain time.”

He continued: “The whole system is built on that concept and many other systems can also be built on it. The block chain nails down history, breaking Orwell’s dictum of ‘He who controls the present controls the past and he who controls the past controls the future’.”

The new book covers a meeting between Assange and Google chairman Eric Schmidt in 2011 and includes discussions on the future of the internet and society.

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