Gab Seeks $10M to Decentralize and Use ‘Free Speech Money’ Bitcoin

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Social media platform Gab has made a bid to seal $10 million in a Series A crowdfunding round that will enable it decentralize its infrastructure and integrate bitcoin (BTC) and Lightning Network payments. 

Founded in 2016, Gab has risen to notoriety due to a perception that it serves as an “echo chamber” for “extremist,” alt- or far-right views as it welcomes users who have been banned from sites like Twitter and Facebook for their alleged violations of hate speech rules.

More broadly, the site 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.” 

Gab has long presented its support of crypto as one of the company’s three pillars — these being unapologetic maximalism in regard to free speech, bitcoin and freedom.

In its campaign announcement, Gab notes that it has accepted bitcoin donations — characterized as «free speech money» — since 2016, yet has meanwhile been “no-platformed” by payment processors that include Paypal, Stripe, Coinbase, Square, Bitpay, and others:

“Our plans […] are to integrate Bitcoin and Bitcoin’s Lightning Network tooling into our line of free speech products to empower our users to facilitate commerce, tip one another, and be more free from corporate censorship and control.”

Should it succeed to raise the funds, Gab will launch an open source social networking architecture, which is fully decentralized, meaning that anyone can participate in a group of federated web publishing servers.

A new “open source, free speech-oriented” Dissenter Web Browser has also been released, complete with a native ad blocker and a Comment Extension. As well as coming with integrated bitcoin and Lightning Network wallet functionality, Gab claims Dissenter can prevent the “Big Tech” tracking that happens on the mainstream web.

According to its crowdfunding campaign, Gab.com has almost 1 million registered users, with its top five markets in the United States (51%), Brazil (10%), the United Kingdom (6%), Canada (6%), and Germany (6%) as of 2019. 

The Gab app has notably been banned both by the Apple and Google App stores.

As recently reported, Gab was reported to be using the Cash App from United States-based payments firm Square in January 2019 to transact and receive Bitcoin (BTC) donations — ahead of its reported exclusion from the service. 

As well as reportedly terminating the personal account of Gab co-founder Andrew Torba, Coinbase also shuttered the merchant account merchandise shop of the anonymous international publishing nonprofit WikiLeaks this April, allegedly due to a terms of service violation.