PayPal cuts ties with domain registrar Epik over digital currency

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The Seattle-based domain registrar (opens in new tab) and web hosting (opens in new tab) company Epik has had its PayPal account terminated after the online payments company accused it of violating its “risk controls”.

While Epik has cited conservative bias as the reason its PayPal account was terminated, the news outlet Mashable (opens in new tab) revealed that its digital “alternative currency” Masterbucks was actually to blame.

Masterbucks can be purchased on Epik's site and the digital currency can be used to pay for its products or can even be converted into US dollars. However, according to a source close to the situation who spoke with Mashable, the company did not take the necessary legal steps to secure its digital currency.

By failing to do so, Epik has made it quite easy for its customers and others to use Masterbucks to launder money online which put PayPal (opens in new tab) at financial risk by continuing to allow the company to use its payments platform.

Epik controversy

Controversy is nothing new for Epik as the domain registrar is known for hosting the far-right site Gab and it formerly hosted the message board site 8chan (opens in new tab) as well. 

In an open letter to PayPal employees (opens in new tab), Epik SVP for strategy and communications Robert Davis called out the company for allegedly trying to silence conservative voices ahead of the 2020 election (opens in new tab), saying:

“It would appear that in a direct effort to silence conservative voices, PayPal has terminated our payment services – just two weeks before a Presidential election. While the concept of technology firms targeting conservative-owned companies to deplatform, demonetize and deindex users is not unknown to us, the degree of tyranny and oppression that this particular action represents cannot go unaddressed by the American people.”

In a statement to Mashable though, a PayPal spokesperson explained that Epix had breached its User Agreement and this was the reason its account was deactivated, saying:

“PayPal has sophisticated risk controls in place to alert our teams to potentially violative activity occurring on our platforms. The company independently reviews each matter and bases its decisions on the management of risk and compliance with our long-standing User Agreement.”

Via The Verge (opens in new tab)

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.