Julian Assange: Bitcoin is a Major ‘Intellectually Interesting Development’

Emily Spaven
May 21, 2014 at 13:57 UTC
Updated May 21, 2014 at 18:35 UTC

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has issued a glowing endorsement of bitcoin, labelling it “the most intellectually interesting development in the last two years”.

The 42-year-old Australian national was speaking via video link this morning at the Net Prophet technology and trends conference, taking place in Cape Town, South Africa.

He believes the next major innovation the world will witness involves the finance sector, and he suggests bitcoin will have a part to play in this.

Assange emphasised that traditional financial systems require laws to govern their operation, but digital currency doesn’t – the code behind it makes sure transactions are carried out correctly.

He emphasised his support of a financial system not controlled by regulators, claiming that the absence of regulation has enabled bitcoin and other cryptographic protocols to evolve and innovate incredibly quickly.

However, he conceded that the innovative nature of cryptocurrency and the financial diversity it facilitates has created difficulties for those working in the space. For example, a number of banks across the world have blocked customer involvement with bitcoin and even closed the accounts of some companies operating within the digital currency sphere.

ecuadorian-embassy-assangeProtestors outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where Assange currently has asylum

A great proponent of decentralisation, Assange said there is a need for more decentralisation of centralised organisations across the globe, and not just those involved in finance.

Assange was speaking from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he has been residing for over 700 days while battling extradition.

He remains under investigation by the US government since WikiLeaks published leaked military and diplomatic documents in 2010. That same year, he was accused of sexual offences against two women in Sweden.

Assange has said he will go to Sweden to face these allegations if he is given a diplomatic guarantee that he will not be turned over to the US.

Last year, Bitcoin donations to WikiLeaks spiked after Assange pledged his support to whistle-blower Edward Snowden.

In January of this year, WikiLeaks revealed via Twitter that the majority of its public funding now comes through bitcoin and litecoin donations.

Wikileaks image via haak78 / Shutterstock.com. Ecuadorian embassy image via Chris Harvey / Shutterstock.com

Hat tip to MemeBurn.

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