Popular yet divisive crypto exchange, Coinbase has caused a rift on social media after the broker banned a controversial, self-proclaimed “free speech” social network (and its founder) from using its services.
This is the second time in less than a year that Gab, the social network in question has been banned from using Coinbase; Back in June last year a similar event happened with Coinbase closing the social network’s account, apparently without any reasoning, Gab responded by calling Coinbase and other centralized exchanges “cancer”:
“Coinbase has banned Gab’s account. Centralized crypto exchanges/wallets are cancer and contradictory to everything crypto stands for”
Now it appears history is repeating itself, with Coinbase banning both the Social network’s account and that of its owner, Andrew Torba:
As predicted: the on ramps and off ramps (exchanges) are going to start censoring not only companies, but also individuals. @coinbase has now banned both Gab's merchant account and Andrew Torba's personal account.— Gab.com (@getongab) January 4, 2019
Decentralized exchanges are the future. pic.twitter.com/LXkjblrdgu
The account closure came a few hours after a Tweet from Gab championing decentralization and damning censorship from exchanges:
The next phase of financial censorship as people move to bitcoin is censoring the on ramps and off ramps (exchanges.)— Gab.com (@getongab) January 4, 2019
This will force and incentivize people to not use those ramps and instead only use bitcoin for all things.
Keep censoring. It will only push people to bitcoin.
This perceived “censorship” from Coinbase caused a stir in crypto Twitter:
I will be withdrawing whatever funds I have left in Coinbase and never using them again.— ₿itcoin Maximus (@MaximusBitcoin) January 4, 2019
Unfortunately #Coinbase is pretty worthless in terms of support for freedom of speech. They serve as a convenient onramp for normal people and nothing more. As a purveyor of free speech you'll need to use an offshore exchange to avoid the fascists in Silicon Valley.— Malcolm Rose (@MalcolmRoseGM) January 4, 2019
Torba created Gab in a bid to circumvent censorship from social networks such as Facebook, who Torba believes “suppress conservative articles". Some controversy surrounding Gab has arisen in the past thanks to a lack of moderation; leading to some calling the social network a “haven for white supremacists”.
However, regardless of Gab’s politics, Coinbase’s seemingly arbitrary account ban does raise some valid questions as to the motives of the popular exchange.