Gab Social Network Forced To Use Square Cash App After Coinbase Allegedly Freezes Its Account
Social Network Gab Forced To Use Cash App After Coinbase Allegedly Froze Its Account
What happens when your payment provider suddenly freezes your account? You switch to a new provider, of course. That’s what happened to controversial social media network Gab, which allegedly had its payment account frozen by Coinbase.
As announced on Twitter on January 6, Gab is now using Cash App to transact and receive bitcoin (BTC) donations.
Gab had previously been using Coinbase to accept BTC donations. However, Gab’s Coinbase accounts were reportedly frozen by Coinbase in December. It was widely believed at the time that the closure was linked to the controversial reputation of the platform.
In response, Gab will start using Cash App, offered by Square, to accept BTC donations. However, it seems likely that Gab’s Cash App account will get shut down in the near future as well.
Founded in 2016, Gab is a social network that markets itself as a haven for uncensored speech. Like most other “uncensored” platforms on the internet today, Gab has quickly become a cesspool of hate speech and extremism. Users who have been banned from the perceived “echo chambers” of Twitter and Facebook have turned to Gab to air their grievances.
Today, Gab’s userbase includes a mix of libertarians, nationalists, populists, alt-rightists, and far-right conservatives.
Gab rose to notoriety in fall 2018 when it was revealed that the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter, Robert Gregory Bowers, was a Gab user. Prior to his shooting spree, Bowers posted on Gab indicating his intent to inflict immediate harm. In the weeks following the fallout of the Bowers incident, payment platforms like PayPal and Stripe froze payment accounts related to Gab.
Gab then relied on Coinbase for its bitcoin payments. However, it was reported in December that Coinbase had closed Gab’s accounts, making it no longer possible for Gab to receive BTC donations through its Coinbase address. This past week, it was also revealed that Coinbase had frozen the Coinbase account of Gab co-founder Andrew Torba.
This isn’t the first time Coinbase has taken action against accounts it sees as controversial. Back in April 2018, Coinbase froze the account of WikiLeaks, preventing the controversial non-profit organization from receiving BTC Funds through its online store.
Gab, meanwhile, is running into the same problems faced by every decentralized network: what happens when someone posts child pornography on the decentralized, censorship-resistant network? What happens when someone talks about murdering a specific race of people? What happens when someone posts specific shooting plans on the network? Do you let these activities continue unabated on the platform? Or do you allow a small degree of censorship?
Clearly, payment providers have been unhappy with Gab’s answers to these questions thus far – and that’s why all major payment providers have shut down Gab’s accounts to date.
While Gab is using Cash App today, it seems unlikely that Square, the major payment platform that runs Cash App, will tolerate Gab’s account for very long. It seems like it’s only a matter of time before Gab’s Cash App account is shut down as well.
In response to this debacle, Gab pushed for the rise of decentralized exchanges in a tweet this past week, claiming that decentralized exchanges will allow the world to enjoy censorship-free money. Until then, controversial platforms like Gab will be subject to the corporate policies of payment providers like PayPal, Stripe, Square, and Coinbase.