The purge of content creators by payment processors in the likes of Mastercard and PayPal dominated the headlines in the last month of 2018 as high-profile political commentators were let go from subscription content service platforms.
One of the most high profile cases of political censorship involved Dr. Jordan Peterson, the acclaimed best-selling author and clinical psychologist, whose account was terminated by Patreon reportedly due to the request filed by Mastercard.
Payment Processors are Giving Individuals the Incentive to Use Bitcoin
Throughout the past two years, Bitcoin and other major crypto assets struggled to see an increase in merchant adoption and overall usage of consensus currencies.
Some multi-billion dollar conglomerates and merchants such as Steam and Expedia integrated Bitcoin through cryptocurrency payment processors. But, due to high fees and long confirmation periods during the time in which the price of Bitcoin achieved an all-time high at $19,500, many major merchants stopped accepting cryptocurrencies as a payment option.
While the lack of second-layer scaling solutions and efficient payment processors was certainly one of the contributing factors in stagnation of merchant adoption of cryptocurrencies, the main reason has been the absence of incentive for mainstream and casual users to switch from centralized systems to decentralized platforms.
Centralized systems, structurally and conceptually, are significantly more efficient, cheaper, and easier to use for most users. Decentralized currencies and applications (dApps) process information in a peer-to-peer (P2P) to eliminate the necessity of third parties and authorities.
As such, there are additional hurdles for users to overcome to utilize cryptocurrencies. For instance, for an individual to open a bank account and begin receiving money, the individual can simply call up a major bank like JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs to initiate the process.
With crypto, because decentralized systems give users complete control over their information and money, users have to undergo the entire process of storing public keys, managing funds, and remain their wallets backed up.
Also, the presence of node operators and miners require users to wait for at least a few minutes for one confirmation, which casual users who are used to credit cards and banking services cannot adapt to immediately.
However, in recent months, many high profile content creators and political commentators have started to accept Bitcoin and recognize the importance of anti-censorship and uncensorable money.
If payment processors like PayPal and Mastercard had not practiced unjustifiable censorship on influentical and prominent individuals, businesses, and organizations, the need for cryptocurrencies could have still been in question.
As Dr. Jordan Peterson said:
“Down we go further into the rabbit hole: why are MC/Visa/PayPal/Patreon acting as censors? They are fighting ‘hate speech.’ But–the Achilles heel of such conceptualization–who defines ‘hate?’ Answer: Those to whom you would least want to grant such power.”
The authority and censorship practiced by payment processors present a dangerous long-term precedent for the global society and free speech.
Based on the subjective viewpoint and stance of payment processors, content creators are being restricted and becoming eliminated from their platforms.
If payment processors continue censor information, it will inevitably lead public figures to decentralized money, as seen in the adoption of Bitcoin by Peterson last month.
Alex Gladstein, the chief strategy officer at the Human Rights Foundation and guest lecturer at Singularity University, said in an op-ed published by Time Magazine that Bitcoin could be a way to provide four million people that have no access to banking services and that it symbolizes freedom.
With a growing number of content creators and commentators being let go of platforms on a regular basis, the adoption of Bitcoin as a symbol of freedom and an alternative currency to the fiat currency system could increase in the years to come.