Julian Assange and Bitcoin: A Lifeline to Freedom

Learn how a substantial Bitcoin donation played a crucial role in Julian Assange's release and his ongoing relationship with cryptocurrency.

Julian Assange and Bitcoin: A Lifeline to Freedom

Who is Julian Assange?

Julian Assange is the founder of WikiLeaks, a whistleblower website renowned for exposing sensitive information. Born in Townsville, Queensland, in 1971, Assange has been a significant figure in international headlines for over a decade. His work with WikiLeaks, which involved publishing classified information about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, has made him a polarizing figure. Assange's efforts to avoid retribution for his work led him to claim asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London before being moved to a maximum-security prison in the UK. His imprisonment has sparked intense debate around national security and freedom of the press.

Assange was charged with conspiracy to obtain and disclose national defense information, a charge under the US Espionage Act. This stemmed from his collaboration with Chelsea Manning, a former US Army intelligence analyst, to publish military documents on WikiLeaks. One of the most notorious releases was a classified video showing a US helicopter attack in Baghdad, known as "Collateral Murder." Manning provided WikiLeaks with over 700,000 documents, videos, diplomatic cables, and battlefield accounts, marking the largest breach of classified information in American history.

Source: Bitcoin Magazine

In 2010, Assange faced sexual assault charges in Sweden, which were later dropped. He was also initially facing 18 charges in the US, carrying a potential 175-year prison sentence. However, a plea deal reduced his conviction to one count of conspiracy to obtain and disclose national defense information. Assange was sentenced to 62 months in prison, but having already spent five years in a UK jail, he was allowed to return to Australia a free man.

Anonymous Bitcoin Donation Secures Assange's Release

In a remarkable turn of events, Assange's release was facilitated by a substantial Bitcoin donation from an anonymous benefactor. This donation underscored the ongoing relationship between Julian Assange and Bitcoin. Earlier this week, Assange's wife, Stella, issued an urgent appeal to raise £520,000 to cover the cost of a private jet to transport Assange from the UK to Saipan and then to Australia. The high cost was due to restrictions preventing Assange from traveling via commercial airlines. In response to the appeal, one anonymous donor contributed just over 8 Bitcoin, approximately valued at $500,000, to cover a significant portion of the expense.

Source: Al Jazeera

Transition to Bitcoin Crowdfunding

Stella Assange initially set up a crowdfunding page accepting traditional fiat donations via credit card and bank transfer. However, due to the platform's inability to accept cryptocurrency, the family quickly created an alternative page for Bitcoin contributions. This Bitcoin address has since received 34 donations, totaling slightly more than $500,000, with the bulk coming from the single 8.07 BTC donation.

Historic Plea Deal and Government Coordination

The Australian government coordinated the private jet for Assange after his plea deal, which involved pleading guilty to espionage charges in exchange for his freedom. This arrangement underscores the high stakes and logistical complexities surrounding Assange's release.

Assange and Bitcoin: A Longstanding Relationship

Assange and Bitcoin have a longstanding relationship, with WikiLeaks having relied on Bitcoin for financial support more than a decade ago when it was cut off from traditional banking services. In a 2014 interview, Assange reflected on this period, noting that WikiLeaks and Bitcoin "kept each other alive." Roger Huang of Forbes highlighted that Julian had even discussed Bitcoin with Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin, which further solidified WikiLeaks' reliance on cryptocurrency for survival.

The Impact of the Bitcoin Donation

Assange's journey to freedom underscores both the ongoing challenges he faces and the enduring support from his global network of supporters, highlighted by the significant Bitcoin donation that played a crucial role in his release. The connection between Julian Assange and Bitcoin remains a powerful testament to the potential of cryptocurrency to support individuals and causes outside the reach of traditional financial systems.


Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, known for exposing classified military information, faced numerous legal battles, including US Espionage Act charges and now-dropped sexual assault charges in Sweden. His release from a UK prison was significantly aided by an anonymous Bitcoin donation of over 8 BTC, valued around $500,000. His wife, Stella, raised additional funds via a Bitcoin crowdfunding page to cover a private jet for his travel to Australia. Assange's longstanding relationship with Bitcoin dates back to when WikiLeaks relied on cryptocurrency for financial support after being cut off from traditional banking services, further solidified by discussions with Bitcoin's creator, Satoshi Nakamoto.