Photographer’s Payment Debacle Brings Bitcoin’s Anti-Censorship Into Focus Author: Jimmy Aki Last Updated: 06 April 2020 Censorship has always been one of the biggest problems, and circumventing; it has been one of Bitcoin’s most significant alluring properties. The latest in such occurrences is that of Ben Taylor, a photographer who was recently banned for life from Western Union as a result of his activities in Africa. “No Explanations. Just Leave” In a recent YouTube video, the photographer, better known as Pleasant Green, explained that he established a photography business in Africa as a means of doing some charity work. The business is based in Liberia, and he’s been wiring money to it to bankroll its operations through Western Union for over three years. Suddenly, however, he tried to wire money to somewhere else on the continent and was suddenly notified that he had been banned for life from the global payment processing network. He added that he had taken additional steps to try to prove that his business is legitimate. None of them worked, and to make matters worse; he wasn’t given a specific reason why he was banned. He added that while he would love to continue keeping his business afloat, he can’t do much if he’s unable to send money to it. As a workaround, he explained that he’ll look into Bitcoin and “mobile money” and look into how they can help to make things better. Bitcoin Fixes This Like many problems faced by traditional financial institutions – and even a lot of FinTechs – Bitcoin can easily provide a solution for this. Even the most progressive FinTech companies that claim to provide financial inclusion still charge exorbitant fees and include some complex processes before their services get delivered. Bitcoin, however, can help to solve this problem seamlessly. Thanks to blockchain applications, Bitcoin can be sent from anywhere, anytime. Transactions take minutes to be completed, and since Bitcoin is decentralized, it can be used by anyone, regardless of where they are. Of all these, however, Bitcoin’s biggest merit is the fact that it can be used and sent for a fraction of what you have with a lot of other money transfer methods. Given the comparatively lower costs and proven speed, Bitcoin is a perfect tool for people like Ben. There’s also the fact that Bitcoin is censorship-resistant. With tensions rising between countries, services like Western Union are usually used as pawns in the political game, and many innocent people find themselves stranded. Business people also have a lot to lose if a company like Western Union decides to suddenly censor your access to their services. Last year, adult entertainment company Pornhub explained that PayPal had abruptly stopped providing payment services to its models. At the time, the company explained that models could get paid from anywhere. However, like Ben and Western Union, PayPal suddenly stopped servicing the firm and its models without giving a reason why. Since then, however, the firm has found a pretty solid partner in crypto. It has a partnership with Verge, and earlier this year, it integrated Tether’s USDT token to provide instant, zero-fee payments to models.