PayPal has stopped working with controversial domain registrar and hosting service Epik, a company providing services to far-right groups.
- A report by Mashable on Saturday said Epik claimed in open letters that the PayPal block is due to "anti-conservative bias."
- However, PayPal said it had ceased servicing the company over concerns about financial risk.
- Epik provides hosting for sites run by far-right organizations including Gab and the Proud Boys, a violent group U.S. President Donald Trump recently refused to condemn (though he later changed his mind).
- The firm has previously provided services for 8chan but eventually cut ties after it was used for posts by the perpetrator of a 2019 mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, the report said.
- A Mashable source "close to the situation" suggested that PayPal's action may be over Epik's digital currency, Masterbucks, that is used to pay for domain services and can be exchanged for U.S. dollars.
- The source said Epik had been touting the digital coin as a way to avoid certain taxes.
- A previous version (archived here) of the Epik website said Masterbucks has "tax advantages" for people "planning to dispose of domains in order to fund the development of other domains."
- PayPal reached out to Epik a month ago to remedy the situation, according to letters to the payment firm posted on the domain registrar's blog.
- It asked questions about money transmission licenses, anti-money laundering, "offshore numbered accounts," "cross‐border activities and law enforcement."
- Epik called the questions "absolutely absurd and well outside of any knowledge or experience we have as a domain registrar," and described the action as intended to "deplatform conservative voices."
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.
Learn more about Consensus 2023, CoinDesk’s longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to consensus.coindesk.com to register and buy your pass now.