With financial blacklisting on the rise, more and more mainstream content are turning to cryptocurrency as a secure, decentralized, apolitical for of receiving financial support from their fans.
Conservative figures like Dave Rubin and Jordan Peterson stand to lose tens of thousands of dollars in monthly Patreon payments from their followers, with Peterson reporting 10% loss of financial supporters in the space of just a week.
— Karel Plesník (@karpl69) January 14, 2019
Patreon has been banning pundits for speaking their mind, censoring people for alleged breach of terms and services. In the case of Peterson and Rubin’s reported losses, it’s likely that the followers are leaving Patreon to protest the ongoing censorship against content creators whose values are not aligned with that of the site founders.
Conservative anti-immigrant pundit Lauren Southern was banned from the site in 2017 for her involvement in an organization blocking NGO ships aiming to help refugees. Patreon cited the potential loss of life as the reason for the ban, and this caused prominent conservative Sam Harris to move away from the site in protest, inspiring others to do the same.
Popular Youtuber Carl Benjamin with almost 1 million followers was kicked for using racist and homophobic slurs against his critics, cutting off a huge source of revenue.
The many incidents have resulted in an anti-censorship backlash that is still ongoing as Patreon beneficiaries are banned or quit and as donors boycott the site in protest.
While the views of the people being kicked from the site are controversial and often extremely poorly regarded by many, the issue isn’t a partisan one. Patreon handles millions of dollars in donations, providing a livelihood for many content creators.
Obviously, the views and actions of the people getting kicked are highly controversial and extremely distasteful to perhaps the majority of people. This article is not defending the views or actions of those people.
The issue is this: the fact that the site has complete control over whether or not the creators can continue to receive money from their fans is an example of a flawed, centralized system, an unnecessary middleman capable of censoring opinions or withholding value at will.
Decentralized Future: Crypto as an Alternative
Of course, cryptocurrency is a logical alternative. Dave Rubin has already stated that he is looking into cryptocurrency as a solution to the problem which is already costing him thousands.
This is why @jordanbpeterson and I are leaving Patreon and working on an alternative. It’s becoming clearer and clearer to me that crypto and decentralization will have to play a significant role. https://t.co/N7tcPuHUwO
— Dave Rubin (@RubinReport) January 10, 2019
It’s possible that the Patreon controversy will end up significantly contributing to cryptocurrency adoption, serving as one of the first mainstream examples of a widely-publicized use case.
While crypto is still not easily accessible to people who are not technically inclined, that is changing over time as developers and exchanges work on user-friendly designs and processes that will encourage new users to join the ecosystem.
Cryptocurrency has always been lauded as a technology suited to protecting and enforcing free speech in the face of censorship, allowing people to have a voice regardless of their political climate.
For the most part, that concept has been ideological, theoretical. But as content creators with hundreds of thousands of followers look to the tech as a real solution to a real problem, it could be cryptos chance to finally put its money where its mouth is.