Coinbase, the most popular bitcoin exchange in the United States has banned the Wikileaks Shop account from using its services. The ban was issued due to an alleged breach of the platform’s terms of service although no specifics were given.
In response, Wikileaks has called for a global blockade of Coinbase citing the non-specificity of the allegations and the suspected involvement of U.S. government interference. According to Greg Barns, a part of the Julian Assange legal team, the move symbolizes an attempt to block free speech.
Barns also went on to say that the situation with Coinbase is symptomatic of the opposition that Wikileaks faces in the mainstream financial scene.
Barns also condemned the actions of Coinbase, calling into question, the integrity of the service. He also went on to say that the Wikileaks Shop is a merchandise store that has nothing to do with the whistleblowing arm of Wikileaks. Hence, he sees no justification for the action taken by the exchange platform.
He also expressed his disappointment with Coinbase, saying that their actions are counterintuitive to that of a member of a disruptive community. Barns expects crypto enthusiasts to take a “dim view” of Coinbase and its alleged fraternization with the centralized establishment.
Following the ban by Coinbase, it is safe to assume that Wikileaks will need to find an alternative to Coinbase.
The following are some other cryptocurrency exchange platforms that the Wikileaks Shop can use. These platforms support crypto-to-fiat transactions.
Gemini is a Bitcoin exchange service founded by Tyler and Cameron, the famous Winklevoss twins. It is reputed to being the foremost U.S. regulated Bitcoin exchange platform in the U.S. The platform is available in more than 40 states in the country, as well as in overseas locations like the UK, Singapore, and Japan. Gemini is based in New York and is fully compliant with the state’s Department of Financial Services.
Gemini offers Bitcoin and ether trading services in exchange for the U.S. dollar. Users in supported countries can make wire transfers to purchase Bitcoin or ether. The platform does not charge any fee for transactions made via wire transfer. However, users still have to pay for their respective fiat currency conversion fees.
There are options for opening individual and institutional accounts. The latter is for large volume traders. Gemini provides attractive discounts for high-value orders. The platform’s user interface is easy to understand even for beginners.
In terms of quality assurance and security, the platform keeps all fiat deposits in FDIC-insured banks. The bulk of Gemini’s crypto holdings is stored in cold wallets, keeping them safe from hackers. Gemini also uses two-factor authentication (2-FA) which adds an extra layer of security to user accounts.
Kraken is a popular cryptocurrency exchange platform for crypto traders. This is due to the fact that it offers margin trading. Kraken is based in San Francisco and was established in 2011 making it one of the oldest platforms in the crypto exchange market. Despite being based in the U.S., Kraken has the highest Euro to crypto transaction volume in the world.
Kraken deals with quite a few cryptocurrency species which include Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Ripple (XRP), and Dash (DASH). Other altcoins on the Kraken platform include EOS (EOS), ICONOMI (ICN), Zcash (ZEC), and Dogecoin (XDG). The platform supports 5 different fiat currencies which are U.S. Dollar, Pounds Sterling (GBP), Yen (JPY), Canadian Dollar (CAD), and Euro (EUR). Deposits can be made via wire transfer or SEPA (for European users). Kraken does not support credit/debit cards.
Kraken adheres to a strict user verification process which involves three steps. The platform also has a few security protocols in place. These include 2-FA, PGP/GPG Email encryption, and a master key for account recovery.
Bitstamp is another cryptocurrency exchange platform that was established in 2011. Just like Kraken, Bitstamp is also popular in Europe where it offers free SEPA deposits. One of the unique features on Bitstamp is the multilingual customer support.
The platform supports BTC, ETH, LTC, and XRP. These cryptos all have trading wallet options on the platform. Bitstamp supports USD and EUR and users with European bank accounts can make bank transfer deposits to avoid the hefty fees charged for card transactions. The platform has offices in the U.S., U.K., and Luxembourg.
Bitstamp has some of the lowest fees compared to many other platforms in the business. It charges a deposit fee of 0.05 percent. Trading fees depend on the value of the trade. For trades less than $20,000, the fee is 0.25 percent. Deposits made via credit cards are expensive as crypto purchases below $500 will attract a fee of 8 percent.
The security protocols employed on the platform are of high-quality and have been so since it suffered a series of hacks which made the platform shut down at different times in 2014 and 2015. Since then, Bitstamp has revamped its security, adding 2-FA and colds storage for crypto coins.
CEX.IO was established in 2013 and is based in London. The platform originally began as bitcoin exchange and as a mining pool. The mining pool was closed two years later and the platform solely became a crypto exchanger. Before shutting down its mining operations, it owned 42 percent of the Bitcoin mining power.
CEX is a cross-platform service available via mobile app (for both iOS and Android), WebSocket, Rest API, and a trading website. The platform supports BTC, ETH, ZEC, and DASH. The platform’s user interface is easy to understand and it offers payments via credit and debit cards. Users can also make wire transfers, bank transfers and those in Europe can make SEPA transfers as well. The platform accepts USD, EUR, and Rubles.
In terms of fees, CEX charges 3.5 percent for deposits made via credit/debits cards. This also includes an additional charge of $0.25 (or its equivalent) on such transactions. The platform also has a 7 percent service charge when users purchase directly from the service. The bitcoin purchase limit on the platform is between 0.01 BTC to 10 BTC. For withdrawals, the platform charges a $3.80 fee on credit/debit card withdrawals. Bank withdrawals attract a fee of $50.
CEX suffered a hack in 2013 but the platform has since improved its security infrastructure. The platform uses cold storage for the bulk of its crypto holdings as well as 2-FA.
Localbitcoins was established in Finland, in 2012, as an alternative peer-to-peer (P2P) bitcoin exchange service. The platform connects bitcoin buyers and sellers directly without any intermediary service. Localbitcoins has thousands of listed exchangers in more than 200 countries around the world.
The payment methods supported on the platform are cash on delivery, PayPal, wire transfer, and Western Union. Localbitcoins also uses an escrow service to ensure both buyer and seller are protected. There is also a rating feature where users can give feedback after the conclusion of a trade.
Localbitcoins charges a flat fee of 1 percent from all trades and it is usually deducted from the seller. The platform employs 2-FA as an extra security feature for its users.
Bitpanda is a cryptocurrency exchange located in Europe, and some have even referred to it as the Coinbase of Europe because of its popularity and the ability to quickly and easily make cryptocurrency purchases and sales.
Bitpanda currently supports U.S. dollars, Euros, British Pounds and Swiss Francs on the fiat side, and Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Pantos, Bitcoin Cash, IOTA, Litecoin, Komodo, EOS, Dash, OmiseGO, Augur, Stellar, 0x, NEM, ZCash and Tezos on the cryptocurrency side. This broad support would be excellent for the Wikileaks Store.
The exchange has support for many different payment and Payout methods such as bank transfers, credit cards, debit cards, Skrill, Neteller and more. Bitpanda has 3.98% fees on credit and debit card purchases.
Recently, Bitpanda has made it so users do not pay any transaction or blockchain fees for sending cryptocurrency between accounts on the exchange, making it convenient for sending lower amounts of cryptocurrency.
Bitpanda is located in Vienna Austria and has been offering its services since 2014. It takes security very seriously, storing all coins in offline cold storage, and to date is one exchange that can proudly claim it has never been the victim of a successful hacking attack.