Saturday, May 5, 2018

Coinbase closes account of Wikileaks Shop online store

The Wikileaks Shop an onlne store selling merchandise for the whistleblower site has reportedly has its account closed by Coinbase the San Francisco-based cryptocoin exchange for violation of its Terms of Service.

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Wikileaks Shop
The Wikileaks Shop sells shirts, phone cases, coffee mugs, posters, and other paraphernalia. Those making purchases can pay with a credit card or use a variety of cryptocurrencies. As Coinbase has closed the account the Shop will no longer be able to collect cryptocurrency payments and convert them into US dollars using Coinbase's service.
Wikileaks Shop's tweet
A tweet from the Wikileaks Shop made the announcement.
A Coinbase spokesperson refused to say anything to the Verge about the closing as they do not comment on individual accounts. Coinbase's terms of service allows it to terminate accounts at its discretion. Termination notices say it is regulated under the U.S. Treasury Crimes Enforcement Network which is designed to fight money laundering.
A Fortune article claims that the Coinbase notice appears to cite US government financial regulations as one reason for the suspension of the account. However, it did not say how Wikileaks Shop violated those rules.
As the tweet noted, people can still donate through cryptocurrencies but not through the Coinbase account.
Wikileaks and supporters angered by move
Wikileaks and its supporters called for a boycott of Coinbase. There are over 10 million users of the exchange, so the boycott may not have a huge effect.
Andreas Antonopolous, author of the books Mastering Bitcoin and Internet of Money, said on Twitter that the move was ironic as Paypal, Visa and Mastercard cut off donations to Wikileaks in 2010. However, there are numerous other exchanges that the Shop can use and the closure may have little effect.Court rulings eventually forced the big finance companies to resume processing donations.
The appended video has a screen shot of the notice that WIkileaks Shop received, that claims that the Shop has violated its terms of service but does not really explain how.


Previously published in Digital Journal

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