“The Crypto Community Effectively Freed Julian Assange,” Says AssangeDAO Lawyer

Silke Noa, a founding member, said that the DAO estimates more than 11,000 ETH went to Assange’s defense and campaigning.

By: Pedro Solimano Loading...

image of a pen breaking chains

In a victory for freedom of information around the world, Julian Assange was released from Belmarsh prison, a high-security detention center in the U.K., early Wednesday June 24, and it’s in part thanks to donations from crypto holders.

After spending more than five years behind bars, the founder of whistleblowing site Wikileaks, is now headed back to his native Australia through the remote U.S. island of Saipan, where he will plead guilty to charges of violating U.S. espionage laws.

Silke Noa, a crypto lawyer and founding member of AssangeDAO, a collective of cypherpunks advocating for Assange’s release, said the crypto ecosystem “bankrolled Assange’s freedom.”

17,422 ETH Donated

Her words point to the eye-watering amount of ETH donated through crowdfunding platform JuiceBox. A total of 17,422 ETH ($59.5 million) were raised, and according to Noa, it is estimated that more than 11,000 ETH ($37 million) was spent on his legal defense and general campaigning.

The remaining 4,400 ($15 million) remains in a multi-sig wallet operated by the Wau Holland Foundation, which has also been spearheading the efforts to free Assange.

Assange’s release prompted the token representing one of the most active communities fighting for his relief, AssangeDAO and its JUSTICE token, to soar 50% to $0.0004 today.

Justice Token Price - CoinGecko

Notably, and despite the news being a surprise for most, investors have been interested in buying JUSTICE in the past year. The token is up 1,100% since this time last year.

Bittersweet Day

“In terms of precedent, I believe this is a bittersweet day since Julian has to plead guilty to charges he should never need to plead guilty to,” said Silke Noa, a crypto lawyer and founding member of AssangeDAO–a collective of cypherpunks advocating for Assange’s release.

However, Noa told The Defiant, “for the AssangeDAO the aim has always been to free Julian by whatever means necessary. The means here was a plea. As the most distinguished and most persecuted journalist of this century, he was dying in Belmarsh.”

Julian Assange is a cypherpunk-turned journalist. His organization, Wikileaks, became famous after exposing human rights violations and corruption from various governments and corporations, including U.S. military actions in the Middle East.

A world-class cryptographer, Assange was also known in underground hacking groups for having infiltrated the U.S. Department of Defense among others, and co-authored an encryption protocol dubbed Rubberhose that made it impossible for authorities to decrypt activist’s secrets.

“Censored” NFT Series

In February 2022, AssangeDAO launched a fundraising campaign on the crowdfunding platform JuiceBox, and raised the most amount of money by any DAO in the history of the site.

AssangeDAO bid on a collaborative artwork series dubbed “Censored” by digital artist Pak, which featured an NFT titled “Clock 1/1,” created by Assange and Pak. Clock 1/1 was a silent timepeace that would count the days Assange spent in prison.

Yesterday, the clock stopped at 1,728 days.

Auction proceeds earned from the Clock series went to the Wau Holland Foundation’s fund supporting Julian Assange. AssangeDAO completed two fundraising rounds, raising a total of more than 17,433 ETH.

AssangeDAO Community Split

Noa explained that her role was to come up with a structure in a very short period to ensure any anonymous donations collected via Juicebox would be bankable such that they can pay for lawyers, legal fees and campaign costs.

The fundraising efforts weren’t without controversy, she added. The vast majority of the donations–95% Noa said–were bid on the Clock NFT, and later transferred by Pak to the Wau Holland Foundation.

“The ‘maxbid’ was highly controversial and split the community,” said Noa.

She’s referring to the divide that took place when the DAO raised much more than what was projected. The community split into two: those that wanted to ‘maxbid’ and purchase the NFT from Pak, and others who wanted to keep some cash on hand.

Similar to ConstitutionDAO’s efforts to buy the U.S. constitution, in which donors would receive PEOPLE tokens (ConstitutionDAO’s native cryptocurrency) in exchange for the ETH donated, in Assange’s case users received JUSTICE tokens. According to etherscan, there are 6,067 holders of JUSTICE tokens.

Wau Holland Wallet Questioned

Controversy ensued when the DAO–which was led by Pak and Julian’s brother Gabriel Shipton–sent the entirety of the funds to the Wau Holland Foundation, who have allegedly been financing Assange’s release.

In fact, questions swirl with regards to the whereabouts of those funds as Assange’s wife Stella asks for donations to pay for the jet carrying the journalist back home when the Wau Holland Foundation continues to hold the million-dollar wallet.

The Wau Holland Foundation did not immediately reply to a request for comment from The Defiant.

Active Role In The DAO

Assange will see his wife Stella Assange for the first time in years, be with his children who have only met their father through bars, and enjoy the fresh breeze of freedom.

But once he has settled back in, Noa expects him to take a more active role in AssangeDAO. Especially since there is more than $15 million in the multisig controlled by the Wau Holland Foundation.

“I understand that Julian has an interest in shaping the future of AssangeDAO. But for now he needs to be with his family and recover from 13 years of persecution,” she said.