- Julian Assange thanked the U.S. government after it pushed companies like MasterCard to block payments to WikiLeaks in 2010
- This forced WikiLeaks to accept payment in bitcoin
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange claims his organization has made a 50,000 percent return on bitcoin after investing in the cryptocurrency in 2010 — and it's all thanks to the U.S. government.
In a tweet over the weekend, Assange posted a screenshot of bitcoin prices on July 18, 2010 and October 14, 2017 on industry website CoinDesk. In this period, the price of bitcoin went from $0.06 to around $5,814. This represents a 9,689,900 percent increase.
Assange, however, said that he has made a 50,000 percent return, presumably investing in bitcoin over the six-year period.
In 2010, MasterCard blocked its products being used to pay WikiLeaks. Paypal also restricted the account used by WikiLeaks after it said the group has violated its policy.
Assange said that this is the reason WikiLeaks invested in bitcoin. The cryptocurrency allows anonymous payments and can be moved around the world easily. It is, however, very volatile.
WikiLeaks is notorious for publishing classified government documents. Assange was fighting a legal battle with Swedish prosecutors who accused him of rape, a claim he denied. Earlier this year, Sweden dropped its investigation into Assange.
In 2012, Assange was granted asylum in the Ecuador embassy in London and has holed up there ever since.