Gab presents itself as a social network that “champions free speech, individual liberty and the free flow of information online.” Gab says that it is not politically affiliated, but in its financial filings, it listed its target market as more than 50 million “conservative, libertarian, nationalists and populist internet users around the world.”
In early October, payment processor Stripe gave Gab two weeks to remove “adult or illegal content” from the site. Following the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting in late October, in which 11 people were killed, both PayPal and Stripe banned Gab. The bans occurred after it was revealed that the shooter used the site to post anti-Semitic speech and posted “I’m going in” just moments before the shooting. Gab’s hosting provider Joyent, as well as GoDaddy and Medium, also terminated their relationship with Gab following the shooting.
As a result of recent events, Gab, without the ability to process payments, has been unable to sell its premium subscription or merchandise. On Tuesday, CEO Andrew Torba wrote in a post that Gab “has been denied by multiple banks during the underwriting process for a new payment processor.” He added that, while multiple processors supported Gab, their banks did not. Mr. Torba continued: “Gab is the supreme example of why bitcoin exists. We will be integrating BitPay asap because Coinbase already banned us.” On Twitter, the firm said that it is now looking for the most user friendly way for users to obtain bitcoin. Gab is also in the process of setting up a PO Box where users can mail cash and checks.
The company has previously listed far-right sites such as Breitbart and Infowars as competitors. Gab has become a social network of choice for the far right, which has applauded the site’s censorship resistance. Many alt-right personalities who have been banned from mainstream social media platforms have turned to Gab.
Gab doesn’t use advertising for revenue, but instead started offering a premium subscription in April 2017 that enables extra features. However, due to its far right audience that posts content deemed controversial by a mainstream audience, Gab has long struggled to find a reliable partner to process payments for its premium subscriptions. In June, Coinbase cut off Gab without giving any specific reason. In a deleted comment, Gab said on Twitter: “Coinbase has banned Gab’s account. Centralized crypto exchanges/wallets are cancer and contradictory to everything crypto stands for.”
Mr. Torba strongly believes that cutting off the company from the traditional financial system is unfair because Gab has “done absolutely nothing wrong and [has] fully audited financials.” However, it is very likely that BitPay, as a result of operating via regulated bank support, will also eventually cut off Gab. Despite this likelihood, Gab will leverage this action as continued PR to rally support from its base, as it has after previous incidents.
Moving forward, it is a near certainty that any trusted third party connected to the regulated financial system will either proactively choose or be forced by the banks that they operate with, to shut Gab off. Until Gab starts accepting bitcoin directly through open source payment processors such as BTCPay Server, the company will continue to have payments issues that lead to service interruptions.
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Gab moves to BitPay bitcoin payments after Stripe, PayPal and Coinbase cut off payment processing written by Larry Cermak @ https://www.theblockcrypto.com/2018/11/21/gab-moves-to-bitpay-bitcoin-payments-after-stripe-paypal-and-coinbase-cut-off-payment-processing/ November 21, 2018 Larry Cermak