June 14, 2011; Source: Forbes.com | Wikileaks has now declared that it will be raising Bitcoins to try to bypass some of the problems that it has had in dealing with donations online. As you might remember, Wikileaks has had problems with VISA, Mastercard, Bank of America, and Pay Pal – all of whom refused to transfer donations along to the group when it became embroiled in controversy for releasing documents – its raison d’etre. Bitcoins are so called “crypto-currency” or untraceable digital cash that is communicated without the use of banks. They are described here in another posting at Forbes.
Bitcoins are controversial. Senator Chuck Schumer recently referred to them as “an online form of money laundering.” Gavin Andresen, one of the developers of the Bitcoins said the charge was unfair and likened Bitcoins to other prepaid “pseudo- currencies” like gift cards.
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Apparently another recipient of Bitcoin donations is the hacker group Lulzsec, which NPQ reported on when it covered their hacking of PBS.
Odd that Wikileaks, dedicated to transparency is in the position of inviting donations through a theoretically untraceable system though it has been backed into that particular corner. Sometimes, watching Wikileaks is like being in a Stieg Larsson novel.—Ruth McCambridge