Did Coinbase Censor Out Crypto Account of Free Speech Social Network CEO?
Gab.com—an infamous social network promoting freedom of expression—has accused Coinbase of censorship after the cryptocurrency trading platform banned the account of Gab’s founder and CEO.
The social network’s team revealed last January 5 that Coinbase ordered Andrew Torba to withdraw all of his digital currencies to different storage before the exchange closes his account. Months earlier, Torba shared that Coinbase has already banned Gab’s merchant account.
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.
Decentralized exchanges are the future. pic.twitter.com/LXkjblrdgu
— Gab.com (@getongab) January 4, 2019
The alleged blacklisting may have stemmed from Gab’s reputation as a breeding ground for hate speech, with analysts explaining that Gab is an echo chamber for its right-leaning users.
Critics of Coinbase’s actions have called the alleged ban a disrespect for people’s right to speak, with one US politician tweeting “yet another free speech attack on Gab.”
Relatively unknown then by the mainstream, Gab received media attention late into 2018 after Robert Gregory Bowers posted anti-Semitic threats on the social media platform before he shot a Jewish synagogue in the United States.
Since then, several companies discontinued their services to Gab. These businesses included crypto payment processors like Coinbase and BitPay—the latter finding Gab highly risky.
As of the moment, Gab users can purchase Pro accounts and other merchandise with digital tokens through BTCPay, another crypto payment gateway.