The User Agreement lays out terms and conditions for services users are allowed to use with funds from PayPal, allowing the censoring of its customers’ money.
PayPal has a fine in place for “intolerance” for up to $2,500 embedded into its terms and conditions.
Located in PayPal’s User Agreement, the company states:
“You acknowledge and agree that $2,500.00 U.S. dollars per violation of the Acceptable Use Policy is presently a reasonable minimum estimate of PayPal’s actual damages.”
The Acceptable Use Policy includes a clause that warns against “the promotion of hate, violence, racial or other forms of intolerance that is discriminatory or the financial exploitation of a crime, [and] items that are considered obscene.”
Specifically, PayPal is saying that you cannot use its services in order to pay for anything that results in any of the criteria listed above. However, the issue that can result in such an attempt aimed at the censorship or one’s own money is that the ideas of “intolerance” and “items that are considered obscene” could arguably be considered subjective.
Thus, PayPal positions itself as the arbitrator of what is the proper way to use funds that do not belong to the company. In doing so, the company creates echoes of criticism surrounding China’s development of its central bank digital currency (CBDC), the digital yuan.
Critics of China’s CBDC cite concerns of the nation-state’s ability to control what residents can and cannot choose to spend their money on, and paired with China’s social credit system which can serve as a blacklist for unapproved behavior, the criticism is easily understandable.
Bitcoin cannot be censored in the way that China can control its CBDC, or in the way PayPal tries to censor services its customers are permitted to use. Bitcoin is the antithesis of financial censorship.