Perhaps the two biggest stories of the past week or so have been the arrest of Julian Assange and the fire that ruined the structure of the Notre Dame Cathedral in France.
Yet curiously, the contrasting reactions to both events from the bitcoin industry tell a story somewhat of the psychology and opinions bitcoin/crypto holders and users.
Assange, the WikiLeaks founder was removed from the Ecuadorian embassy and then put to custody in the UK this month, is potentially facing extradition to the US in relation to his expose on the brutal killings of innocent civilians during the War in Iraq. The news prompted some to jump for joy and this sight whereas others took a very different viewpoint.
It would appear though that to many crypto users, this news warranted action against it and they decided to pledge funds to support Assange. According to reports:
“In the six days following Hard Fork’s original report, a touch over 6 BTC ($31,800) has been sent to WikiLeaks‘ public address, spread across 299 donations.”
The support from sections of the Bitcoin faithful suggests that they are firmly in favor of Assange’s plight. However, when you compare the Bitcoin donations in response to the Notre Dame fire, which had numerous donations from around the world, amassing billions of Euros, it would appear that the plight of Notre Dame is not nearly as strongly felt like that of Assange.
According to CCN, the 900-year-old Catholic Church has had “curiously” little support form the Bitcoin community. A website called Notre Dame Des Cryptos was set up by Le Cercle du Coin, Grégory Raymond, and blockchain developer David Prinçay. However, the multi-party wallet’s fundraising efforts have failed to gain much traction and, “as of this writing (April 17th), the wallet has received about 0.193 BTC or a little over $1,000.”
Sticking With Their Own
So, the crypto holding public is clearly in solidarity with Assange and nonplussed by the Notre Dame fire. Perhaps the crypto community is standing with someone they identify as one of their own.
Assange, a computer hacker who has been a part of and supported the Bitcoin industry since its birth. He told the public in a tweet in 2017 that WikiLeaks had made a 5000% return on their investment after they were forced to invest in Bitcoin in 2010 after the US government had scared the big fiat companies like VISA and Mastercard into blockading their attempt to build funds.
WikiLeaks is famous for their exposing of classified documents and state secrets around the world, which look to expose corruption, war crimes and other actions that the national governments of the world would rather the public don’t see. Unlike fiat companies like Visa, the crypto community is more suspicious and coy when it comes to their relationships with big government.
Bitcoin the voice for change
Crypto, whether people like it or not, is rebellious. It goes against the status quo and the big financial institutions that are so often in bed with big governments. It has become a voice for change for many of those who feel the system is rigged against them. ‘
From the individuals like Assange to the national governments of Iran and Venezuela that have crippled them economically. Bitcoin has been THE currency to fight the political system and political hierarchy.
Personally, I feel that the Bitcoin community has bought into this revolutionary feeling and we are seeing it played out with the Assange donations. Assange’s story is linked to the plight of crypto. They are two similar beasts. One is proving an adversary to powerful governments and the other, Bitcoin, is a financial institution’s and to some extent government nightmare. Bitcoin creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, seemed to see the connection, commenting on the BitcoinTalk forum in 2010:
“WikiLeaks has kicked the hornet’s nest, and the swarm is head towards us.”
It would seem that the hornet’s nest is finally going to consume Assange and now, nine years after this statement, it is Bitcoin looking to save Assange and WikiLeaks. Whether this effort will be in vain remains to be seen, yet what it tells us about the present can only not be ignored.
Bitcoin is the rebellious coin, the currency that goes against the powers that control the system we live under and can be a tool for a major change in the way we live our lives, economically and politically.