Controversial social media site Gab is reportedly now using the Cash App from United States-based payments firm Square to transact and receive Bitcoin (BTC) donations. The company’s official Twitter posted the announcement Jan. 6.
Founded in 2016, Gab is a social network which presents itself as a haven for uncensored speech online. It has risen to notoriety due to a perception that it serves as an “echo chamber” for “extremist,” alt- or far-right views — many of whose proponents have allegedly been banned from networks such as Twitter and Facebook on the grounds of their alleged violations of these platforms’ rules on hate speech.
More broadly, Gab targets a user base of libertarian, nationalist, populist or conservative leanings — or anyone who dissents from the content filtration, anti-disinformation, and data harvesting measures enforced by mainstream platforms, or “Big Tech.” The Gab app has notably been banned both by the Apple and Google App stores.
Gab drew particular scrutiny in fall 2018 after it was reported that the perpetrator of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, Robert Gregory Bowers, had posted on Gab indicating his immediate intent to do harm prior to the crime. Fiat payment processors such as PayPal and Stripe subsequently suspended their services to the company.
In December, it was reported that Gab’s corporate account on major U.S. crypto exchange and wallet service provider Coinbase had been closed, with media reports at the time citing the platform’s contentious reputation as possible grounds for closure.
Earlier this month, the personal Coinbase account of Gab co-founder Andrew Torba was also reportedly terminated, prompting the company to tweet in support of decentralized exchanges as the sole means of protecting censorship-resistant money.
Gab has used its Twitter handle multiple times to advocate for cryptocurrency as the route to “freedom from central banks, financial censorship, and a rigged financial system,” presenting its support of crypto innovation as one of the company’s three pillars — these being unapologetic maximalism in regard to free speech, Bitcoin and freedom.
A separate Gab tweet has nonetheless implied that decentralization should at times be sacrificed to allow for some degree of censorship, specifically in regard to child pornography.
As previously reported, Coinbase also shuttered the merchant account merchandise shop of the anonymous international publishing nonprofit WikiLeaks this April, reportedly due to a terms of service violation.
WikiLeaks had famously appealed to donors to contribute to its whistleblowing activities using cryptocurrencies in order to circumvent governments’ attempts to exercise a financial stranglehold on the venture.