How Bitcoin’s Block Chain Could Stop History Being Rewritten
Despite the recent drop in bitcoin’s price, cryptocurrency startups are now attracting more investment than ever and stories about major developments in the bitcoin ecosystem are being picked up by mainstream media on a regular basis.
The New York Times reported the news that popular bitcoin wallet provider Blockchain had raised $30.5m in financing. Last week, Time published an article titled How Bitcoin Can Save Journalism and the Arts, exploring bitcoin’s micropayment capability for creating a new model of content distribution that is free from advertising.
Yet, long before this new interest and innovation sparked outside the tech community, WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange was seeing the promise of the bitcoin technology beyond currency.
The confluence of this stateless digital currency and the iconic whistle-blowing site first emerged when WikiLeaks faced a financial blockade by Bank of America, Visa, MasterCard, PayPal and Western Union, which reportedly blocked 95% of their revenue.
Bitcoin was used to circumvent the banking blockade. Here the advocates for the free flow of decentralized currency joined the fight for free speech.
The WikiLeaks-bitcoin alliance
In his conversation with Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt documented in his new bookWhen Google Met WikiLeaks, Assange described bitcoin as ‘something that evolved out of the cypherpunks’ and explained in detail the underpinning technology that made it possible for WikiLeaks to counteract the state’s economic censorship.
However, it seems this is just the tip of the iceberg of the WikiLeaks-bitcoin alliance and the revolutionary potential hidden within the encryption-based network. The ramifications of bitcoin technology go far beyond the economic domain.
Appearing in the form of a hologram at The Nantucket Project conference, Assange spoke of the significance of the block chain, the underlying technology of bitcoin, particularly in relation to journalism and holding those in power to account.
This post was published at Coin Desk on October 15, 2014.