Wikileaks could be sitting on a virtual goldmine of cryptocurrency. It appears that the organization has received 4,054 SegWitCoin (BTC) that, by today’s prices, would be worth around $46.2 million. How the money might be used, if used at all, isn’t clear.
Wikileaks asserted in 2016 that it held around $22 million that had been received through BTC donations. Those donations were reportedly in response to the group’s work in exposing government activity. A recent subreddit started by Boredguy32 showed that the amount has more than doubled since then.
If Wikileaks sits on its wallets and the price of BTC rises as some have expected—far-fetched predictions of $100,000 have once again begun to surface—the organization would become one of the richest and most powerful groups around. Whether or not it should be classified as a media group is open to debate, but it still has the ability to shape public opinion.
The amount could have been even higher if Wikileaks hadn’t used some of the money to defend Julian Assange, the group’s original founder. It’s possible that some of the $46 million reportedly held has also been used, as there isn’t a way to completely track how transfers to other wallets or withdrawals may have taken place.
Wikileaks announced the creation of its first crypto wallet in the summer of 2011. It was designed to allow users to make contributions to the platform as one of the first major adopters of crypto. The move came as many other payment channels—Visa, MasterCard, PayPal and others—began denying service to the group. In an effort to find an alternative means, crypto seemed to be the ideal solution, despite the potential for negative blowback. Talk had begun about using crypto, but some were concerned, because of its unknowns at the time, that it could draw undue attention to the organization.
Given the group’s willingness to seek fame and glory, regardless of the cost, having a substantial stockpile of funds makes it an even more dangerous entity. Payoffs, bribes, insider recruitment become easily managed with a large wallet and this could potentially lead to even more controlled information making its way into the wrong hands.
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