BitPay suspends donations to Hong Kong Free Press
BitPay was accused of suspending donations to the Hong Kong Free Press, said editor-in-chief Tom Grundy, amidst massive city-wide protests and clashes with mainland Chinese authorities.
The press agency started accepting Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash donations through BitPay beginning in 2015 to help support the non-profit news organization, one of the few publications in China not entirely locked-down by the country’s colossal censorship apparatus.
So far, the payment processor platform accepted around $1,900 in BTC. But now, it seems, BitPay is tying-up access to these funds.
As Tom Grundy said on Twitter:
“Funds held for weeks simply because Hong Kong banks use SWIFT and not IBANs. Truly the worst experience you can imagine. Poor reputation, abysmal communication, horrible customer service, very high fees. Almost any alternative will be better.”
Due to the horrible experience, Grundy is even threatening legal action against BitPay. Considering the critical time for the organization in Hong Kong, perhaps the elevated response is justified.
BitPay’s controversial reputation
Over the last few months, BitPay has garnered criticism for failing to support major crypto wallets and for arbitrarily freezing customer payments.
Earlier last month, BitPay suspended a Bitcoin donation of $100,000 for exceeding the service’s payment limit. The funds were meant to go to the non-profit “Amazon Watch” to rehabilitate land after rainforest fires in the Amazon.
These issues, once again, emphasize that intermediaries—such as exchanges and payment processors—can fundamentally bottleneck the useful properties of Bitcoin as uncensorable and irreversible money.
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