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Trump’s Ban Divided Crypto Twitter

The de-platforming of Trump‘s social media accounts by social media firms has ignited debate among the crypto community over tech companies’ extensive powers.

In the aftermath of Wednesday’s storming of the US Capitol by pro-Trump rioters, tech companies and social media companies have been racing to expel the movement’s members from their platforms.

Even President Donald Trump was unceremoniously ejected from Twitter “due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” following his Facebook suspension. In the meantime, Parler, the right-leaning social media platform, which played host to numerous provocative comments related to the riots, was taken offline after Amazon refused to service its cloud infrastructure – then it was immediately banned by Google and Amazon from their app stores.

Trump’s smooth de-platforming has sparked debate across the political spectrum; while critics like Hillary Clinton celebrated, Trump supporters like Senator Steve Daines called the President’s Twitter ban a “slippery slope.” There was also chaos from the American Civil Liberties Union’s likes, with senior legislative counsel Kate Ruane questioning the “unchecked power” of tech companies to be removed from their platforms.

As usual, Crypto Twitter was far from agreement about the ban. Was it an example of Big Tech stepping out of line to withhold the President, or should he get off the game and surrender?

Crypto positions itself as an alternative to centralized power structures; libertarian philosophy enticed many crypto advocates to space. However, although the social media firms carry the power to silence even the President of the United States, many felt that they were well within their rights to do it.

Two Sides of Crypto

“Trump has no right to shout from Dorsey’s platform any more than Dorsey has the right to shout from the balcony of Trump tower,” tweeted Erik Voorhees, CEO of crypto exchange Shapeshift. Voorhees’s Telegram profile picture is of a Frédéric Bastiat, a French free-marketeer.

Hudson Jameson, the communications manager, closely connected with the Ethereum Foundation, pitched his tent beside him, stating: “it’s perfectly acceptable if you don’t like that they banned Trump or want them to unban Trump. It’s not okay to say Twitter should be forced, via government or otherwise, to unban him. He broke the terms of service of Twitter, a private company. Period.”

But the founder of Compound, Robert Leshner, spoke for the offended. While emphasizing that “Trump is the worst president in American history, a threat to democracy, and an international embarrassment,” he added that “…Twitter suspending his account is anti-ethical [sic] to free speech, and demonstrates that centralized power can and will be misused.”

A delay has somewhat occurred.

A contestable market

A partner at law firm Anderson Kill, Lawyer Stephen Pally, which specializes in crypto and hard truths, broke ground with some good ol’ gatekeeping when he tweeted: “If you’re a libertarian and you’re whining about private platforms’ censoring’ violent demagogues you are not actually a libertarian.”

Is the response to Trump’s Twitter ban suggesting that Crypto Twitter is not as libertarian as it seems?

The book ‘Libra Shrugged’ nocoiner David Gerard called Bitcoin an “ideology” with roots in “extremist libertarianism.” Gerard said that “Crypto has a lot of sincere ideological libertarians and it also has a lot of people who say the words – but their only ideology in practice is ‘number go up.'”

He said crudely that “the Donald Trump account is a special case that can’t really be generalized from. For the libertarian-minded, there are endless alternatives to Twitter. Anyone can start a social media site, anyone can start a private instance of [decentralized social media platform] Mastodon.” He added: “The trouble is having anyone care.”

This looks like a mixture of sorts. Some stand haughty from libertarianism, extremist or otherwise. Others have granted Twitter a free pass to censor the President in the name of freedom. More have remained silent, occasionally refreshing CoinMarketCap as they long for a shooting graph.

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