Due to increasing pressure from payment processors like Mastercard, Patreon has initiated a purge of content creators and political commentators on its platform, forcing prominent figures such as Dr. Jordan Peterson to experiment with Bitcoin as an alternative payment method.
Recently, Dr. Peterson, a Canadian clinical psychologist and a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, started to accept Bitcoin donations on his official website and is in progress of developing a platform that could compete against existing centralized platforms like Patreon without censorship.
Root of the Issue
As the controversy surrounding Patreon and its decision to lay off high profile individuals on its platform intensified, a growing number of users have questioned the company’s motive.
The company is yet to provide an official statement In response to the overwhelming criticism from the public. But, users have uncovered previous statements made by Patreon representatives who said that Mastercard, a major U.S.-based payment processor, asked the company to terminate its services for the so-called “controversial thinkers.”
Within one week, Dr. Peterson, author Sam Harris, and Carl Benjamin were banned from the platform without any further explanation, leading the public to believe Patreon is maintaining the platform with political bias, unjustifiably terminating services to commentators and content creators that may fall under the scope of political incorrectness.
However, a statement discovered by Patreon users in August released by the company explicitly described that Mastercard requested the company to ban certain users on its platform.
A statement from a Patreon representative read:
“Hi Robert, we emailed you earlier today which explained that unfortunately Mastercard required us to remove your account. You replied to us but if you have further questions we’re happy to keep emailing.”
The failure of Patreon to abide by the request of Mastercard could result in the inability of the platform accepting Mastercard payments, so the company decided to terminate its relationship with New York Times best-selling author Robert Spencer and let go many high profile content creators.
The root issue of the Patreon scandal is that payment processors are exercising control over individuals on independent platforms with their subjective viewpoint on which type of content or speech is considered politically incorrect or morally wrong.
The livelihood of content creators are being actively dictated by the political bias of payment processors and membership platforms like Patreon are limited in ways they can handle the situation because ultimately, they are left with two choices: abide by the request of the payment processor or become vulnerable to being shut down by the payment processor.
Bitcoin is the Only Option
To create an uncensorable platform that respects free speech, an uncensorable form of money has to be integrated.
As a consensus currency operated by a peer-to-peer network of miners, developers, node operators, and users, cryptocurrency like Bitcoin remains as the only uncensorable form of money that could put an end to the practice of censorship based on political bias by payment processors and other central entities.
Dr. Jordan Peterson has started the development of a competing platform to Patreon in light of recent events, and it remains uncertain whether the platform will revolve around cryptocurrencies.
“I’ve been working on a system to allow authors and other people who engage publicly on intellectual issues to interact more effectively with their readers and viewers and listeners. What we’re going to try and do as fast as we possibly can is to set this system up on a subscriber model that’s analogous to Patreon. It will have a bunch of additional features, which I don’t want to talk about right now, and I don’t want to over promise because the system is new.”
But, without the adoption of cryptocurrencies, the same risk Patreon faces for not being compliant with the demands of centralized payment processors are still present on any other platform that intends to challenge the position of Patreon.
Featured Image by Vitaly Taranov on Unsplash