Bids for WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange NFT Reach Over $50M


Bids for a non-fungible token (NFT) being auctioned to raise money for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s legal defense have reached over $50 million.

In collaboration with crypto artist Pak, Assange is auctioning an NFT collection dubbed Censored online between February 7-9 in order to raise money to battle his extradition case. The centerpiece of the collection is an NFT called Clock, which displays and updates daily the number of days Assange has been imprisoned in white text on a black background. As of midday on February 8, bidding on Clock amounted to 16,593 Ethereum, or roughly $52 million.

The bid was placed by Assange supporters, who formed a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) in order to bid collectively on the NFT. DAOs are effectively online communities who pool resources using blockchain-based tokens and vote on how to operate.

With over 10,000 participants, AssangeDAO has raised 17,422 Ethereum, around $54.6 million, since February 2, according to the crowdfunding website Juicebox.  “This is tens of thousands of people coming together to show real strength – the Power of the People,” said AssangeDAO community lead Joshua Bate. “In less than one week, we have shown that decentralized and distributed peoples can band together to fight injustice.”

The auction will also enable supporters to create their own Censored NFTs. After choosing a monetary amount and typing in a short message, it will be turned into an image with a line striking through the phrase, as if it were censored. Supporters ultimately created 27,875 images raising 587 Ethereum, or $1.8 million, for pro-freedom organizations chosen by Assange and Pak.

Currently embattled, Assange is facing extradition from the United Kingdom to the United States. There, authorities want to put him on trial for 18 criminal charges, including breaking an espionage law. They hold Assange responsible for WikiLeaks publishing thousands of secret classified files and diplomatic cables in 2010. After Assange, who remains incarcerated in London, was allowed to challenge his extradition approval last month, the Supreme Court will now decide whether they will hear his case. 

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