Gab, a popular “free speech social network”, recently revealed that it successfully integrated the Btcpay Server and that it has officially started accepting payments in bitcoin (BTC) and litecoin (LTC).
Gab’s Controversial Userbase
Launched in August of 2016 as a free speech-supporting version of microblogging social network Twitter, Gab’s userbase is growing steadily. Most of its users reportedly seem to have libertarian and alt-right personalities who had complained about being censored on more mainstream social media outlets. Notably, Gab’s users include Tommy Robinson, a well-known right wing reporter and commentator associated with the alt-right, that was recently banned from using PayPal.
Ann Coulter, a 57-year-old American conservative social and political commentator, also has an active Gab account. In addition to offering users a free account, the Gab platform gives users the option to choose from four levels of a paid pro membership.This week, Gab’s official Twitter account stated:
Literally no one can no-platform our new crypto shop. No one. Not banks. Not the media. Not activists. Not online mobs.
No KYC Checks For Btcpay Users
Notably, Btcpay, the payment processor used by the Gab network, lets anyone receive crypto payments directly “with no fees, transaction cost or a middleman.” Moreover, Btcpay’s invoice API format is similar to that of BitPay, one of the largest bitcoin processors. To accept BTC payments through Btcpay, merchants do not have to go through know-your-customer (KYC) checks, according to the payment processor’s Github page.
As explained on Btcpay’s Github repositories, the platform’s server and supporting software is able to facilitate cryptocurrency transactions without users having to share their private keys. User addresses are also not reused as each invoice is associated with a new crypto address which is created using the customer’s public key.
While integrating crypto payments may be a good move by Gab, the social networking platform has had its share of problems. On October 27 of this year, Gab made headlines when one of its account holders, Robert Bowers, murdered 11 people at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburg, United States.
Gab User Commits 11 Murders
Bowers, who identified as a neo-Nazi and was known for making threatening anti-semitic comments on Gab, posted a status on it which said he was “going in.” This message was posted right before he killed 11 people. After the murders, GoDaddy, PayPal, Stripe, and Medium stopped providing services to Gab and the social network’s web hosting service provider also terminated its relationship with it.
Following the violent incident, Gab went offline for eight days. As Gab’s team tried to search for a new web host, the company’s supporters sent cheques to help pay for its day-to-day operations.
Although various media outlets and the larger online community have been highly critical of Gab’s “free speech” platform, the company claims that it has staff members who regularly monitor the content posted on its website. Gab users are strictly prohibited from posting child pornography, revenge porn, content related to promoting terrorism, and doxing.
BitPay Terminates Relationship With Gab
Back in November, Gab tweeted the following message:
Gab has been denied by multiple banks during the underwriting process for a new payment processor. Multiple processors supported us, their banks did not.
— Gab.com☃️ (@getongab) November 21, 2018
When Bitpay also banned Gab from using its services, Gab decided to integrate the Btcpay server to its platform, which many Twitter users had recommended.
In another tweet, Gab noted:
You will never fully understand the power and importance of bitcoin until you go through the underwriting process with banks trying to get approved for online payment processing. They essentially want your unborn child, an arm, and all of your personal data to get an answer.