Hong Kong Free Press Slams BitPay Over Blocked Bitcoin Donations

Francisco Memoria

Tom Grundy, the founder and editor-in-chief of the Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP) has recently slammed cryptocurrency payment processor BitPay over blocked bitcoin donations.

According to Grundy’s tweets, the cryptocurrency payments processor has been blocking donations to the crowdfunded media outlet for three weeks, without properly working with the Hong Kong Free Press to resolve the issue and let it access the funds its supporters sent in.

Grundy noted that the media organization has received a total of HK $14,800 ($1,900) in bitcoin since it added cryptocurrency donations back in 2015, but has now had to halt crypto donations as they weren’t getting to their destination.

In a follow-up tweet, Grundy advised his followers to “never use BitPay” as the company ended up blocking its crypto donations “simply because HK banks use SWIFT not IBANs,” and the experience the HKFP had with it was “the worst … you can imagine.”

Per the HKFP founder the fees being paid were high, while BitPay’s communication was “abysmal” and the customer service was “horrible.” He finished by saying he was ready to “go to war with publicity and legal action” against BitPay.

BitPay has, as covered, been facing several publicity nightmares in the last few months, as whenever it fails to process cryptocurrency payments the community starts suggesting alternatives and its reputation is damaged. Earlier this year Chess.com revealed the firm’s know your customer and anti-money laundering checks saw “about 100” payments fail.

Last month, a $100,000 bitcoin donation to a non-profit environmental organization working to protect the Amazon rainforest was also blocked by BitPay for being “too high,” according to the organization itself.

BTC Now Below $8300, but Tom Lee Says ‘2020 Should Be Great for Bitcoin’

Siamak Masnavi

On Thursday (January 23), Thomas Lee, Co-Founder, Managing Partner, and the Head of Research at independent research boutique Fundstrat Global Advisors, while appearing as a guest on CNBC's post-market show "Fast Money", predicted that "2020 Should Be Great for Bitcoin" and explained why.

According to data from CryptoCompare, at press time (around 10:20 UTC on January 24), Bitcoin is trading at $8,273:

BTC-USD 24 Hour Chart on 24 Jan 2020.png

This is the first time that Bitcoin has traded below the $8,300 level since January 14, as you can see in the two-week BTC-USD price chart shown below:

BTC-USD 2 Week Chart on 24 Jan 2020.png

Since Bitcoin reached $9,151 at 01:00 (UTC) last Sunday (January 19), the BTC price has been steadily falling, perhaps in anticipation of the "traditional" slowdown in Bitcoin trading around the time of the Chinese New Year (which, this year, starts on 25 January 2020 and ends on 11 February 2021). This expected drop in Bitcoin trading volumes was something that Arthur Hayes, Co-Founder and CEO of crypto derivatives exchange BitMEX, predicted in a tweet he sent out yesterday:

However, Lee, does not seem concerned about the currently falling prices of Bitcoin and altcoins in the crypto market.

Lee, who was appearing on Fast Money to give his views on the stock, bond, and crypto markets, was asked by the shows's host, CNBC news anchor Brian Sullivan, if he was still bullish on Bitcoin.

Lee replied:

"Yeah, 2020 should be great for Bitcoin because you got number one the halvening happening -- the block reward for miners getting cut in half -- that's a good supply demand change. I think last year the White House killed the Bitcoin rally with their opposition, but with the presidential election cycle underway, it's not gonna be in the headlines, and that's bullish for Bitcoin. And then with geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, I think that's good for crypto... We're getting a lot more interest in it from our clients."

It is worth remembering that two weeks ago Lee tweeted about a report he had published on January 9 about the outlook for crypto in 2020. According to this report, there are three positive convergences/catalysts for Bitcoin in 2020:

  • Bitcoin halving/halvening (which is expected to take place around 12 May 2020).
  • Geopolitical tensions in the Middle East.
  • 2020 U.S. Presidential Election

Lee said at the time that the bottom line is that "financial markets tend to discount 1-3 months, and maybe 6 months (max)" and therefore the "highest probability is halvening not priced in."