Google’s Talks With Payment Processors Would Only Benefit Bitcoin

Google’s Talks With Payment Processors Would Only Benefit Bitcoin

Last week, rumors that Google has been in talks with major online payment processing outfits such as MasterCard, Visa, and PayPal to starve “illegal” websites appeared in an article in the UK’s Telegraph. While the search giant could certainly be asked to chill the search listings of such sites, payment processors have long been used to freeze funding to questionable content; in mid 2012 PayPal made it a policy to withdraw from major cyberlockers.

Then, as now, it seemed like a potential huge win for Bitcoin. By cutting off legitimate businesses–as many cyberlockers happen to be–PayPal opens up a market niche for alternative payment services to move in. In fact, we’ve already seen resellers for Mega turn to Bitcoin in order to make up for not having access to PayPal.

According to the Telegraph article, Google has long taken the approach that to shut down illegal sites, a follow-the-money approach has long been the search giant’s thoughts on how legislation such as SOPA should move (rather than via outright censorship.) However, illegal operations already can have their assets frozen and find themselves having payment processors such as Visa and MasterCard drop them.

This is also a favored method for much of the copyright industry to fight piracy; but the chilling effect here is that unlike legal or civil proceedings the repercussions can be without much oversight.

Even if Google doesn’t move on this sites may seek alternative processing just in case

The idea of a site being “illegal” is so nebulous when it comes to how copyright industry groups have moved in the past that it could put any site that works with media in the crosshairs. This doesn’t just mean cyberlockers, but anyone who works with cloud storage and permits their users to upload their own content.

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As a result, accepting Bitcoin might become an excellent move right now.

If only as preparation for when Google’s baleful “do no evil” eye turns toward them. Unlike current traditional processors like credit cards and PayPal, Bitcoin cannot be starved out because it isn’t controlled by any central agency.

The mere expectation that someone as powerful as Google might want to team up with payment processors to starve out potentially “illegal” sites should stir a certain level of paranoia. While it’s hard to say exactly what sort of role Google could potentially even have in this so-called partnership (Techdirt questions exactly this about the rumors) it raises questions about how a website might get cited as “illegal.”

We’ve already seen sites starting to dip into the Bitcoin bucket such as reddit considering the cryptocurrency and jumping on wholeheartedly. Mega and resellers of that services fall neatly into the cyberlocker model so it makes sense that they’re already edging into bitcoins to insulate themselves.

Kyt Dotson

Kyt Dotson

Kyt Dotson is a Senior Editor at SiliconAngle and works to cover beats surrounding DevOps, security, gaming, and cutting edge technology. Before joining SiliconAngle, Kyt worked as a software engineer starting at Motorola in Q&A to eventually settle at where he helped build a vast database for pet adoption and a lost and found system. Kyt is a published author who writes science fiction and fantasy works that incorporate ideas from modern-day technological innovation and explore the outcome of living with those technologies.
Kyt Dotson


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  1. “We’ve already seen sites starting to dip into the Bitcoin bucket such as reddit considering the cryptocurrency”
    Reddit started accepting bitcoins recently. They are not considering anymore, they have done it already.

  2. Bitcoin adoption is increasing and reaching new businesses every day. The more people who get into this virtual currency, the better! For those who haven’t joined the revolution yet, check out and get started!

  3. Have you checked out Payoneer?You will get $25 (£17/€19) free when you sign up through this link!Get paid directly to your very own Payoneer Prepaid Debit MasterCard,
    available to over 200 countries worldwide!

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