Bitcoiners Raising $520,000 to Cover Julian Assange Flight

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  • Bitcoin supporters are helping raise $520,000 to cover Julian Assange’s debt to the Australian government after his plea deal with US authorities
  • Assange has accepted a plea deal, admitting to violating US espionage law, but will not serve additional time due to his five-year detention in Belmarsh Prison
  • In return for his plea, Assange owes the Australian government for his flight and security costs, and Bitcoin enthusiasts are contributing to these expenses

Bitcoiners are helping to raise the $520,000 Julian Assange needs to repay the Australian government following his plea deal with US authorities. Assange has agreed a deal that will see him admit to violating US espionage law but serve no time due to the five years he has spent in Belmarsh prison in the UK, with the Australian set to return home. However, in agreeing to the deal, Assange will owe the Australian government a staggering half a million dollars for the flight and the security around it, and Bitcoiners are already stepping up to help.

Assange and Bitcoin Go Way Back

Assange found himself in the global spotlight after his platform, Wikileaks, began releasing highly classified government documents in 2010. These releases included diplomatic cables and military documents that exposed sensitive information about countries around the world, most notably the United States. This act of whistleblowing, hailed by some as heroic for its advocacy of transparency and freedom of information, was condemned by others, especially governments whose secrets were laid bare.

The backlash was swift and severe. The US government pursued Assange aggressively, claiming that the leaks had jeopardized national security and put lives at risk. Legal battles ensued, and Assange faced potential extradition to the United States on charges including espionage and computer misuse.

As the political and legal pressures mounted, financial institutions, including major credit card companies and payment processors, began to block donations to WikiLeaks, effectively attempting to cut off its financial lifeline. In response, WikiLeaks turned to Bitcoin, a then-relatively obscure digital currency that offered the promise of anonymous transactions and freedom from centralized financial control. Bitcoin played a crucial role in keeping WikiLeaks financially afloat during its most legally perilous times, as supporters could donate money without interference from traditional financial networks.

Assange’s use of Bitcoin not only provided WikiLeaks with a financial shield but also highlighted the cryptocurrency’s potential as a tool for resisting censorship—further intertwining the fates of internet freedom advocacies and digital currency. Meanwhile, Assange himself continued to face legal and personal battles, culminating in his arrest in 2019 after Ecuador revoked his asylum, leading to ongoing extradition hearings and a continued stay in British custody.

Bitcoiners Asked to Step Up Again

Following his plea deal, Bitcoiners are now stepping up again. A crowdfunding campaign has so far raised 60% of the $520,000, but a Bitcoin-specific campaign was launched on Wednesday morning through the Geyser Fund:

The fund has already raised almost $1,000 despite being open for a few hours, with one post on Reddit suggesting that one whale had paid the entire thing:

8 bitcoin ($500k) donated to pay for Julian Assange’s flight by anon
byu/Cocopoppyhead inBitcoin

However, this payment has not been registered on any crowdfunding platforms, so it may not be genuine.

Whether it is genuine or not, there is clearly still an appetite to help Julian Assange within the Bitcoin ecosystem, reflecting the shared libertarian views.