The official WikiLeaks Shop, an offshoot of the non-profit infamous for leaking government secrets, now accepts bitcoin Lightning payments.
All proceeds from the online store, which sells WikiLeaks T-shirts and other swag, goes to fund WikiLeaks operations. The shop already accepts bitcoin and other popular cryptocurrencies for payments. Now, as of Tuesday, it also accepts bitcoin payments via Lightning, making the WikiLeaks Shop one of the earliest vendors to do so.
The Lightning Network supports a newer, faster type of bitcoin transaction that could potentially help bitcoin scale to support many more users. But using Lightning is still somewhat experimental and risky, compared to sending transactions directly to the Bitcoin blockchain.
A WikiLeaks Shop spokesperson told CoinDesk the site added Lightning support after receiving a few requests from prospective customers. "We try to offer as many crypto payment options as possible that our supporters request, as lots of supporters also love cryptocurrency," the person said.
WikiLeaks an early bitcoin adopter
This latest development from the WikiLeaks Shop carries historical significance since WikiLeaks was one of the first organizations to accept bitcoin in 2011 as a way to receive donations. At the time, U.S. banks were blocking payments via Visa and Mastercard to the controversial organization.
"I can’t speak on behalf of the main organization as the shop is technically separate. However, for the shop [bitcoin] was an easy process to add as we use the CoinPayments gateway," a shop spokesperson told CoinDesk.
Users who pay for items using cryptocurrency rather than traditional payment methods receive a 5% discount.
"We generally see most crypto orders in bitcoin, litecoin, ethereum and very few in the other altcoins, but perhaps we will have more orders with this one," the spokesperson added.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.