Alt-Right leaders are increasingly turning to bitcoin to conduct fundraising following account closures from leading crowdfunding platforms. Despite the libertarian underscoring of many cryptocurrency projects, the use of bitcoin poses several fundamental challenges to altright ideology.
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Crowdfunding Has Increasingly Become a Staple Business Model for Many ‘White Nationalists’
Since its inception, bitcoin has been lauded by the libertarian-leaning constituent of the right wing community. The realization of decentralization, trustless financial autonomy, and peer-to-peer transactions without third party verifications have obvious appeals to proponents of small government. Despite the appeals of cryptocurrency with hard-right leaning groups, few expected that bitcoin would increasingly become popularized as a tool embraced by altright political organizations.
In a move apparently at odds with the altright’s ideological leaning, crowdfunding has increasingly become a staple business model for many ‘white nationalists’. The reliance upon small donors has occurred due to many advertisers being unwilling to be associated with individuals perceived to be racist or hateful, as well as many vocal ‘white nationalists’ finding themselves with limited employment opportunities outside of the movement. The transition towards crowdfunding has been a bumpy road, however, as many popular crowdfunding platforms have closed the accounts of altright individuals seeking to utilize their platforms, sparking the increasing popularization of bitcoin among pro-white figures.
Kyle Chapman, a 42-year-old ex-con who has risen to prominence within the altright following the circulation of videos of Chapman assaulting anti-fascist protesters, started an account with Gofundme to raise money for bail, only to have his account suspended for violating the website’s terms of service. “In this particular instance we removed it because it was in defense or support of anyone involved in criminal activity”, Gofundme said with regards to Chapman’s account. Chapman then attempted set up a crowdfunding campaign with Paypal, who also shut down his account following the surfacing of more footage depicting Chapman’s violence. Although some altright personalities have been able to fund campaigns via Patreon, self-identified white nationalist Emily Youcas had her Patreon account removed recently, illustrating the shortage of financing options available to outspoken ‘white nationalists’.
The increasing restriction of viable means for the altright to generate revenue has resulted in a reliance on small donors, including heavy encouragement of donations in the form of bitcoin.
The Altright’s Adoption of Bitcoin Poses Numerous Contradictions to Many Fundamentals of White Nationalist Ideology
“Bitcoin is the currency of the alt right,” read a recent tweet from www.altright.com co-editor, Richard Spencer. The for-profit organization accepts monthly donations of between $10 and $60 and annual donations of between $1,000 and $10,000, accepting donations in the form of bitcoin, cash, or Paypal. Neo-nazi website www.dailystormer.com also encourages bitcoin donations, launching a crowdfunding campaign for the website’s legal defense budget last month that promotes bitcoin as its preferred means of donation
Aside from the curious reliance of right-wing figures upon donations as a source of revenue, it is surprising that ‘white nationalists’ have been so quick to embrace a network dominated by Chinese miners. With much of the security and robustness of the bitcoin network reliant upon actors disparately located across the world, the United States’ position of dominance within cryptocurrency seeing a sustained demise since 2012, and rising transaction fees, the altright’s increasing adoption of bitcoin will generate considerable revenue for international bitcoin miners in the future through transaction fees.
Do you think that more controversial entities will gravitate toward bitcoin adoption? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
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