Cryptocurrency design aims them to be uncensorable, permissionless money. But if you use payment processors, they can also suspend your accounts. BitPay banned Gab, the free-speech Twitter alternative from receiving and making payments using their payment processing platform. This happens after that they had been previously banned from the Paypal platform too.
Gab Banned Yet Again
The social media platform Gab, known for being a “free speech” alternative to Twitter, was banned yet again from a payment platform. But the strange thing is that this time is not Paypal. It is BitPay, a cryptocurrency centric payment processor, that closed the doors to Gab. Andrew Torba, Gab’s founder, announced it in a post on that social network.
The site ran to integrate this cryptocurrency based payment processor into its platform after facing another ban from PayPal. Despite this, BitPay also suspended their account declaring that they were a “high risk” organization.
Before the suspension, Gab tweeted the need for bitcoin and for cryptocurrency payments for the existence of platforms like theirs. But they made a common mistake of merchants who accept cryptocurrencies: they integrated a third party payment processor like BitPay.
Cryptocurrency Payment Processors
Bitcoin and other currencies are indeed permissionless and uncensorable: they don’t depend on any central authority to be used for payments. Payment processors introduce a middleman entity that simplifies the task of receiving payments, but also make the task of accepting cryptocurrencies much more easier.
Designing a native system for accepting cryptocurrencies is no trivial task. Cryptocurrency and blockchain devs are scarce, and their pay is quite high. That is why merchants interested in accepting cryptocurrencies often rely on these third party services. To avoid having to integrate their own payment stack. But they have also lost services from Coinbase and from BitPay. So they went the third, more troublesome way.
BTCPay: A Self Hosted Payment Server
They are now integrating BTCPayServer, a self-hosted cryptocurrency payment processor that will let them leverage the power of cryptocurrency payments without having to rely on a third party institution (like BitPay, that banned them) to do it.
Of course, they will have to hire a cryptocurrency savvy engineer to integrate the payment stack with their services, but they won’t be banned or de-platformed anymore. Decentralized money is the answer, and this time Gab will have to be their own bank to survive and keep operating in an increasingly censored world.