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RT News recently covered the role of cryptocurrency for WikiLeaks, particularly in the recent incident of its founder’s arrest, including mentioning the Dash community’s recent support.
During a recent segment on the alternative news network, RT News featured commentary by independent journalist (formerly sponsored by Dash) Ben Swann, a well-known award-winning journalist who himself has encountered censorship issues in the past, and who is a long-time cryptocurrency user and advocate. According to Swann, in the first 24 hours since Julian Assange’s arrest, over $34,000 in donations was raised in Bitcoin alone towards his legal defense fund, with more contributions coming by way of other supported cryptocurrency. Swann believes that the visions of cryptocurrency and WikiLeaks fit together comfortably:
“Cryptocurrency fits very well into what WikiLeaks is about: breaking the systems of government and control and banking systems, and a lot of people in those communities would philosophically align with WikiLeaks and with Assange, and would want to support what he’s doing, and doing it through crypto.”
Over the last nine years and counting, WikiLeaks has experienced disruptions to its payment processors and means of receiving funding, major card processors and payments services, including Visa, MasterCard, and PayPal, all blocked the nonprofit from raising funds, and even some cryptocurrency businesses such as Coinbase shut down services.
The Dash community’s support for WikiLeaks and its acceptance into the WikiLeaks store
Also noted by Swann in the RT News segment was the Dash community’s support for Assange following his arrest, and how expression of this support led to the WikiLeaks shop accepting Dash for payments for merchandise, which it did not previously do:
Just got my new @wikileaks mugs from the @WikiLeaksShop, paid for in $Dash of course. Now if only they'd list Dash as a payment option on the front page and accept it for donations to Assange's defense I'd be happy.#dash #cryptocurrency #Bitcoin #wikileaks #freeassange pic.twitter.com/FWIEjsKZ9u
— Joel Valenzuela (@TheDesertLynx) April 22, 2019
“What’s significant about this is that when word got out that Bitcoin donations were starting to come in, there was a significant push by members of other cryptocurrency communities who also wanted to support who began contacting WikiLeaks and saying ‘We’d also like to make donations,’ but, for instance, the Dash community, with whom I’ve worked a lot with my independent work, reached out to WikiLeaks saying ‘Can you start accepting Dash?’ And so they are now accepting Dash on the WikiLeaks store.”
Since beginning to accept Dash at the WikiLeaks Store, members of the Dash community have posted picture on social media of their merchandise purchased with Dash. At time of writing WikiLeaks does not yet accept Dash for donations, but several community members have expressed a desire to donate to Assange’s defense fund if made possible.
Dash’s history, and cryptocurrency’s role, in independent media
Dash has a long history of supporting independent media outlets. In early 2018, the Dash network sponsored Ben Swann‘s independent news program Reality Check, bringing the segment back from a year-long hiatus after it was forced to go dark by its last hosting network. In addition to Reality Check, several other notable independent media outlets, including the Free Thought Project and We Are Change, have obtained sponsorships from the Dash treasury in the past.
Cryptocurrency has traditionally had a close relationship with independent media due to its effect on free speech. While free speech is technically possible under the present ruling financial system, sanctions, account freezes, and other disruptions to the funding of independent media outlets can have a drastic effect on the practical ability to engage in unrestricted speech. As such, cryptocurrency’s decentralized and censorship-resistant nature can have a significant effect in boosting the viability of truly free speech when used in conjunction with independent media.