A few weeks back we wrote about the emergence of BitCoin, a new digital currency that can theoretically provide an alternative to greedy, criminal banking institutions. WikiLeaks is now accepting donations in BitCoins.
While this is a rather interesting development, it should be noted that in an interview lead developer Gavin Andresen gave with Jason Calacanis on “This Week in Start-Ups,” Andresen admitted he’d been approached by the CIA’s investment arm In-Q-Tel.
With WikiLeaks now using Bitcoin, does there now exist a thread between the CIA and WikiLeaks? In-Q-Tel’s curiosity about Bitcoin does not necessarily indicate a financial interest in the firm, however. (One can imagine the CIA learning from Bitcoin how to set up its own currency system to pay its covert operatives or to fund subversives without a paper trail leading to the US government.)
The benefits of accepting BitCoin donations for WikiLeaks are obvious: it allows them, to a degree, to bypass the usual digital financial transactions that they’ve been denied via Visa, Mastercard, etc. It also allows donors to contribute to WikiLeaks anonymously—or that is the theory with BitCoin, anyway.
BitCoin’s creators might believe that its transactions are untraceable and truly anonymous, but there is always the possibility of a digital paper trail.
That said, would WikiLeaks throw its chips in with BitCoin if it were unsure of the digital currency’s innate anonymity? If it’s truly anonymous, hopefully the donations pour into WikiLeak’s coffers.