A Case for Decentralization; Jordan Peterson Turns to Bitcoin as Patreon Hastens Its Own Demise

Jordan Peterson now has a Bitcoin address and has begun to accept donations in BTC following the fallout from the recent Patreon debacle. His BTC address on the Bitcoin explorer shows 131 inbound transactions, totalling 0.86601266 BTC at time of writing.

Jordan Peterson Turns to BTC

The donation service recently saw fit to terminate the account of Youtube personality, Sargon of Akkad, for what it considered a breach of its platform’s policies. However, Jack Conte, CEO of Patreon, recently admitted in a New York Times interview that the ‘offensive’ speech in question actually took place on Youtube, leaving open the question of conspiratorial corporate policing of the internet.

Peterson, along with other prominent public speakers such as Sam Harris and Dave Rubin have sought to find an alternative to Patreon in recent weeks. Harris cancelled his own Patreon account in an act of protest, while Peterson’s is still live, but lost over 2,000 patrons in the shockwaves from the Sargon incident.

Even those who find fault with Sargon of Akkad personally cannot overlook the consequences of such an act of censorship. As summed up recently by Peterson:

“They didn’t just shut down Sargon. They shut down the free choice of thousands of people who funded him, in an effort to stop hundreds of thousands from listening to him.”

Patreon Nails its Own Coffin?

If you’ve spent the last couple of years scanning cryptocurrency whitepapers then the language in the following excerpt from Patreon’s terms of use might come as a shock:

“We can terminate or suspend your account at any time at our discretion. We can also cancel any pledges and remove any content or rewards at our discretion. These terms remain in effect after your account is disabled.”

Compare that to the opening summary of Bitcoin on Wikipedia, and it’s hard to imagine one of these services being around for much longer:

“Bitcoin (BTC) is a cryptocurrency, a form of electronic cash. It is a decentralized digital currency without a central bank or single administrator that can be sent from user-to-user on the peer-to-peer bitcoin network without the need for intermediaries.”

Barring a few purposely-centralized crypto services, that description holds true for most other cryptocurrencies. Dogecoin occupied a role as a vehicle for donations almost immediately after its launch, while $69 million worth of cryptocurrency was donated to just one charity fund in 2017 alone.

Crypto to the Rescue

Given that a simple cryptocurrency address or QR code can essentially do Patreon’s job on its own, it’s easy to see it becoming one of those services very much disrupted by crypto in the near future. Even Patreon’s access tiers for various donation sizes could be replicated with a few well-placed smart contracts.

Patreon is playing with fire in its haphazard handling of its user policy. Regardless of what alternative Peterson and Co. come up with, cryptocurrency will be quietly waiting in the wings for the eventual moment when people realize they needed it all along.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Greg Thomson is a freelance writer who contributes to leading cryptocurrency and blockchain publications like CCN, Hacked, and others.