So, let me tell you a story…
If you’re a skeptic you’re bound to at least have heard of (I hope) Carl Benjamin (aka: Sargon of Akkad). A left-leaning pom with quite a youtube audience and some views that diverge from the modern lefty status quo (iow: He has a brain and has more classical liberal ideas).
He, a while ago mind you, decided to insult right-wing neo-nazi’s who were harassing him online in the heat-of-the-moment by calling them “the n-word”, in a podcast hosted by another person. This started… quite a cascade, which highlights some serious problems with the very root structure of our modern money systems.
Suddenly around end of dec Patreon deleted his account without warning. (Patreon is the platform for online content creators to get money from supporters). Essentially decimating his monthly income. On inspection their reasons did not line up with their usage policy, the offense did not occur on their platform, on his youtube channel which is linked to their platform, etc… so, basically they just seemed to decide unilaterally that he was “out”. This sent a chill through the youtube creator community because they all realised their income can be removed for any reason at any time with no proper reason or warning…
So they started to rebel, Dave Rubin, JB Peterson, and a host of others announced they’re deleting their Patreon accounts and moving to another vendor. Sam Harris closed his account immediately. Most of them moved their accounts to another fledgling service called Subscribe Star.
That lasted mere days… You see the person who was responsible for the banning of Carl was an ex Paypal employee… and within days Paypal banned SubscribeStar. Which, in the online world, means you’re dead. At this time SubscribeStar is still trying to figure out HOW they’re going to process payments… exactly.
So the community obviously were even more furious, as some had decided to use a normal PayPal account instead of Patreon and now realised even PayPal were part of some sort of censorship cabal in the payment industry. FYI: A lawyer with a channel called “Youtuber Law” is starting antitrust procedings against PayPal and Patreon over this incident… but it goes even deeper…
It turns out on further inspection that PayPal were blocking user’s accounts for speech violations ON BEHEST of MasterCard and Visa… Thing is, they each have a TOS, which include not saying nasty things, etc. If they don’t want you around, they can ban you from having a Visa and/or Mastercard, ever. And it turns out they’ve been doing this with political dissidents. In deferring blame for certain account closures PayPal thrust this fact straight into the limelight.
So… people started wondering about crypto-currency… but it turns out the payment processors had already effectively shut down at least one bitcoin exchange. (edit: For not playing ball with their policies)
Now THAT folks, is one of the scariest stories I’ve ever heard. Your online words can remove you from 99% of all online/CC trade in one fell swoop because a private company decided it.
There are people actively scrambling to come up with a way around all this. But what exactly this will mean going forward, nobody yet knows.