Transaction control policies such as those of PayPal could lead many people to increasingly rely on Bitcoin or other decentralized cryptocurrencies.
The fact is, as Slate has revealed, these control policies are highly questionable and reveal that platforms like PayPal fall heavily under state control.
The story told by Slate concerns two payment platforms, PayPal and Venmo, and the fact that the use of certain specific words in the description of transactions can create problems for users.
In fact, there is a list of words and phrases that, if included in the description of a transaction on PayPal and the subsidiary Venmo, cause the suspension of payment, allowing the companies to examine the transaction and possibly block it.
This blacklist includes words such as Iran, ISIS, North Korea, Kim Jong Un, Bashar al-Assad, Cuba, Syria, Al Qaeda, etc…
However, this blacklist does not include words like bomb, hitman, kidnapping, terrorist, cocaine, napalm, anthrax, AK-47 (Kalashnikov), KKK (Ku Klux Klan), human trafficking, slave, false identity, elephant tusk, Iraq, and so on.
The problem is that this blacklist seems to refer explicitly only to possible violations of US sanctions, and it creates a lot of confusion.
This is the statement that came from the company:
“PayPal takes its regulatory and compliance obligations seriously, including U.S. economic and trade sanctions administered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)”.
In other words, this policy openly ignores sanctions from other countries and completely disregards, for example, buying and selling weapons, drugs, or human and animal trafficking.
As such, PayPal’s policies are those of a US company that forces all its users to comply with the policy of a single state, ignoring more global and probably even more important issues.
PayPal vs Bitcoin
In this respect, it has been suggested that, especially outside the US, this attitude may discourage many people from continuing to use such platforms, who may start to prefer tools offering more freedom, which do not have to comply with US policies.
Obviously, Bitcoin and decentralized cryptocurrencies would seem to be ideal candidates for those users who want to free themselves from American control, and use amoral financial instruments, without any form of transaction monitoring.
Admittedly, this also allows criminals to use these financial instruments, but it is still a limited and not predominant use.
Moreover, Bitcoin is also an a-territorial, as well as an a-moral currency, and these two characteristics put together really make it a viable alternative to those who want to stop using global payment platforms under US control.