Cryptocurrencies allow users to transact effectively even without revealing much of their personal information. From protecting account numbers to credit cards, the adoption of cryptocurrencies has simplified the payment mechanisms.
Gab, a favored social network often referred to as the “alt-right Twitter” is the latest to find out how this market could be helpful, according to a recent report. For several months, Gab has been having a tough time of trying to secure a cryptocurrency payment processor ever since it got de-platformed by Stripe and PayPal.
The social network did not reveal much information as to why it received the denials, but it is easy to presume that PayPal and Stripe did not do not want to associate themselves with Gab, following its association with terrorist acts claims.
The company has however found a hospitable service amid the struggles.
Gab first made headlines after one of its users Robert Bowers’ reportedly murdered 11 congregants at the L’Simcha synagogue Tree of Life on October 27.
Just before the mass shooting was committed, several Bowers had noted down a warning threatening message to Gab; a message which singled out the immigrant Aid society of the Hebrews.
The deplatforming began soon after the public was made aware through media coverage of the same.
Besides Stripe and PayPal, some web hosting services such as Joyent and GoDaddy had also refused to accept the network.
Since then, Gab has been raising money through an ICO, and has discovered a new domain registrant in Epik. All the while, the social network has been looking for other ways to process its user’s donations.
Series of rejections
First, Coinbase refused to host Gab.
Both companies did not communicate the reasons behind the ban, but in a post which was later deleted, Gab stated that Coinbase had banned the Gabs account, a move that made Gab look for another payment solution. “We will soon integrate BitPay since Coinbase has banned our application” posted the CEO Andrew Torba on November 20.
According to Mr.Torba, cutting the firm off from its traditional financial system is quite unfair since Gab had not committed any offense and had proper regulated audits.
On the following day, Andrew Torba, once again made an important update to Gab users through the companies official website. The social network said that Bitpay, which they had run to after the coinbase denial, had also turned down their request. “Bitpay has banned us the cryptocurrency payment processor.”
According to the Gabs post, Bitpay had cited “higher risks” as the main reason behind the ban. Although the message wasn’t very specific on which type of risks Gab carries, the most concrete part of the message states that “we may suspend you from accessing our services if we find out that you don’t comply with our terms and conditions, or if you have given us misleading information.”
The direct message to Gab, however, stated that BitPay had decided to terminate its services, and as a result, it could no longer provide Gab with the cryptocurrency payment processor. This was after it keenly reviewed the social network’s business and found that it had high operating risks.
For this reason, BitPay planned to deactivate Gabs account on 28th November 2018.
Even with all that, a post made by Gab on November 28 shows that Gab is now looking forward to starting using a new cryptocurrency payment processor- the BTCPay server.
“Gab is a perfect example as to why Bitcoin is still in existence,” wrote the Gabs official website account, “we are making tireless efforts to integrate BTCPay because the other crypto payment processors like coinbase have banned us”. Gab further said in the post that they are convinced that crypto and Bitcoin are the future of their business due to their effectiveness. “It has been a total struggle and nightmare for us to undergo the underwriting process of getting the new payment processor. We are however convinced that we achieved the best since Bitcoin and crypto are our future.”
While very little information has been heard from Andrew Torba and his management team, the general conversations between BTCPay server slack channels clearly indicate that several people have been closely working with the social network firm.
Others have also been advising it on the best wallets that it should use, and also discussing how to effectively convert fiat to Cryptos.
According to its GitHub page, the BTCPay server is a free and open source which allows its users to avoid third-party reliance when processing the cryptocurrency transactions. It, however, allows the users to use a third party host only when they are “not comfortable with setting it alone”.
BTCPay is decentralized in nature, and thus it cannot ban any social network, such as Gab form using its services. “Unlike the previous companies, The Bitcoin core cannot prevent anyone from using this service”, wrote Darier to Gab. Their efforts to push the technical barriers as well as the cost are also reportedly underway.
Gab has invited its users to provide financial support by mailing their checks to its accounts, even as it continues to strive to acquire a new cryptocurrency payment solution. Written by a person who only identifies himself as ‘Tom from Gab’, Bitcoin is scary, and the social platform is, therefore, looking for easy ways that its customers can use to donate fiat.” The fiat which will be collected will later be converted into Bitcoins.
Gab is an already established company, which is trusted by thousands of users. For the years it has been operating, it has managed to outdo their competitors, with it recently listing far-right sites like Infowars and Breitbart as its closest competitors. The network has become a well known social site for most people.
A significant number of the alt-right personalities who receive banning from the other mainstream social platforms always run to Gab.
As for now, the firm does not get any revenue from advertisements as it provides its users with a premium subscription. However, it has a far-right audience that occasionally post controversial content and this is one of the top reasons why it struggled for a long time to get a reliable partner for its subscriptions.
Gabs efforts to find a reliable cryptocurrency payment processor marks a shift in the entire cryptocurrency space. One thing is for sure, creating a network with tens of thousands who all want to pay in Cryptos is a good thing, although it’s not easy.
If the new payment mechanism goes on well as expected, Gab will have several stable coins which will protect its earnings from volatility. It could, however, experience problems by cashing out in the traditional methods, especially if they still have some banking issues.
Generally, most alt rights actors have not participated in active cryptocurrency payments since August 2017, during the initial spike around the Right Charlottesville Unite Rally.
The crypto enthusiasm is still waning in the industry, and this means that a social network which welcomes the alt-right members shifting to cryptocurrency payments may face a couple of challenges. On one hand, most users are unfamiliar with the technology and on the other hand, the centralized crypto processors are getting more conscious.