The creator of bitcoin appealed to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange not to use the cryptocurrency to receive donations due to fears that government attention would “destroy” it.
The revelations surfaced from Assange’s latest book that comes out this week, When Google Met WikiLeaks.
In a footnote, the WikiLeaks founder said he spoke with the pseudonymous inventor of bitcoin after Visa, MasterCard, PayPal and other financial companies pulled their services from his organisation in 2010.
When a member of a bitcoin forum suggested Wikileaks could accept bitcoin, Nakamoto apparently claimed such integration would “provoke unwanted government interest” in the nascent cryptocurrency.
“The project needs to grow gradually so the software can be strengthened along the way,” Nakamoto said. “I make this appeal to WikiLeaks not to try to use bitcoin.
“Bitcoin is a small beta community in its infancy. You would not stand to get more than pocket change and the heat you would bring would likely destroy us at this stage.”
The original post can still be viewed on an archived version of the bitcoin forum. Six days later, Nakamoto disappeared from the bitcoin community and has remained an evasive figure ever since.
His final post read: “It would have been nice to get this attention in any other context. WikiLeaks has kicked the hornet’s nest and the swarm is headed towards us.”
As a result, Wikileaks did not launch a bitcoin donation channel on its site, instead waiting until the cryptocurrency’s first major boom on 14 June 2011.
To date, WikiLeaks has received close to 4,000 bitcoins in donations, according to its public bitcoin address, the equivalent to around $1.8m (£1.1m, €1.4m) Assange recently recognised the significance of bitcoin in an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session on Reddit.
During the Q&A, Assange referred to bitcoin as “an extremely important innovation” that uses technology that breaks George Orwell’s dictum “he who controls the present controls the past and he who controls the past controls the future”.