Something people sometimes do not fully realise is that private ownership and gatekeeping always come hand in hand.
When a business such as a crowdfunding platform is privately owned and managed, it means certain rules apply which may not be as objective as one would like.
Yet, there is nothing people can do about it.
Private ownership means a company can do what it wants.
Of course, being a cryptocurrency enthusiast (congratulations, you’re part of the 1% who believes in a truly global currency) means understanding the need for a truly permissionless network of money.
Could people be adopting the wrong model?
However, as pointed out by prominent Bitcoin contributors such as Jimmy Song and Andreas Antonopolous, we cannot blame people in general for not adopting Bitcoin if interfaces are still clunky and complicated. Nobody wants to deal with the private key hassle, as it’s usually easier to just pass on that responsibility to a central party, like a bank. Simply put, without a much more user-friendly way to deliver money to people who need it, general adoption could be hard.
So, platforms like Patreon will continue to grow – beautifully packaged, easy to use, and boasting user-friendly interfaces, these platforms allow for individuals to raise money and enable a whole new world of micro possibilities.
Writers, freelancers, techies, and artists can potentially enable subscribers to donate to their cause with minimal hassle, and to follow all their work in one place.
A censorship vulnerable governance model
However, depending on who you are and what ideas you’re promoting, you might have a bad time.
Jordan Peterson, a clinical psychologist and professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, announced he was leaving Patreon in the wake of the platform’s decision to ban Carl Benjamin, AKA the Sargon of Akkad, for using offensive language on another person’s YouTube account during a conversation.
In a tweet, Peterson pondered the ramifications of a banking system which similarly excluded people based on political grounds, saying:
“…imagine if banks started canceling the accounts of people who have committed no offense but did not abide by their corporate mission statement? We’d have political banks.”
The problems Patreon is facing have surfaced in the past, when tech giants like Google and Facebook blocked cryptocurrency-related advertising during the ICO hype of 2017 and 2018.
Another example of censorship is the way YouTube deals with monetisation. If a video goes against the platform rules, it loses rights to be for-profit and it can even be deleted by gatekeepers. Because YouTube is privately owned, rules can change at any time. Topics around cryptocurrency could potentially be blocked if deemed unsuited for viewership.
Decentralised platforms like Steemit, Dtube, and Brave’s Browser are aiming at disrupting the way platforms distribute value to content creators, each in their own way.