In brief

  • The DAO’s first goal is to bid on a one-of-a-kind NFT produced by celebrated digital artist Pak.
  • Pak collaborated with Julian Assange on the "Censored" collection.

Decentralized autonomous organizations, or DAOs, have many reasons for coming together, such as buying NFTs, bidding on rare items, or purchasing failed brands. A new group, AssangeDAO, aims to free jailed WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Similar to FreeRossDAO, which organized over the internet to raise money for the release of Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht from prison, AssangeDAO is a collective of cypherpunks fighting for the liberation of Julian Assange.

Its method? NFTs, of course.

The DAO’s goal is to bid on a one-of-a-kind NFT produced by celebrated digital artist Pak, who collaborated with Julian Assange on the "Censored" collection, set to launch on February 7. Proceeds from the auction are earmarked for the Wau Holland Foundation, which since 2010 has raised millions in donations for Assange's legal defense.


AssangeDAO, which includes members of the Assange family, launched December 10, the same day a ruling that barred Assange's extradition to the U.S. was overturned. In the span of just 24 hours, the DAO has raised over 2,675 ETH, around $7.8 million, via the funding platform Juicebox. The DAO's leadership says those who donate ETH will receive the AssangeDAO JUSTICE governance token in return.

"It is our belief that DAOs are a powerful coordination mechanism that cypherpunks can wield to free Assange," AssangeDAO wrote on Substack. AssangeDAO says if it wins the Pak NFT, it will store it in a multi-sig, a type of crypto wallet that requires multiple signatures to a transaction before moving funds. The community will then be able to decide what to do with the NFT, using the JUSTICE tokens to weigh in on proposals.


The DAO is a natural progression of the use of cryptocurrency by organizations associated with Assange; in 2011, WikiLeaks became one of the first organizations to accept donations in Bitcoin.

"Assange's case has become symbolic for Individual Sovereignty in the 21st Century. We must organise collectively leveraging the power of permissionless, censorship resistant digital currencies," AssangeDAO tweeted Thursday.

Julian Assange is wanted on espionage charges in the U.S. over WikiLeaks' decision to publish classified government documents. He's currently in pre-trial detention in the U.K., where he is fighting extradition. If extradited and found guilty of all charges, Assange faces up to 175 years in prison.

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article stated that Assange was "serving time." Rather, he is a remand prisoner, meaning that he continues to be detained while extradition proceedings are ongoing. 

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