Controversial psychologist, writer, and public speaker Jordan Peterson is now accepting bitcoin donations on his official website. The decision to feature bitcoin donations came after a series of recent events regarding Patreon. After banning several high-profile users, the crowdfunding membership platform is being accused of censorship and political bias.
It seems that Patreon was influenced by other companies to prohibit certain users from receiving funding. According to Patreon itself, MasterCard required it to ban multiple users, including renowned author Robert Spencer.
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.— Patreon (@Patreon) August 15, 2018
This, according to some in the cryptocurrency community, is a prime example of how the involvement of third parties can lead to censorship. However, this may not just be a simple impediment to freedom of speech, as many Patreon users depend on the platform as a source of revenue.
On Twitter, some further questioned why MasterCard is so vocally expressing political opinions, and why it«s also enforcing them by censoring members it seemingly does not approve of. Nick Szabo, one of the earliest bitcoin supporters, is famous for stating: “Trusted third parties are security holes. Escape through bitcoin.”
Creating an Alternative
Multiple content creators on Patreon are now reporting heavy losses in financial backing, as users are fleeing the platform in protest over the move. It’s estimated that, before the incidents, Peterson was making between $15,000 to $67,000 a month from the platform. Although he abandoned it, he still is one of Patreon’s highest ranking members (29th).
Many of Patreon’s top-earning users, including author and neuroscientist Sam Harris, are leaving the platform in protest. Leaders of the “Intellectual Dark Web”, a network of public intellectuals of which Jordan Peterson is a part, are now planning to create an alternative to Patreon that won’t be susceptible to arbitrary censorship. Peterson stated:
"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 overpromise because the system is new."
In one of his Youtube videos, Peterson asked supporters to be patient. He hoped to have “something up” before Christmas but appeased fans in regards to the future project: “I don’t want people to think we are taking this lightly or lying down”.