Bitcoin Giant BitPay Screws Over Hong Kong Free Press With Ill-Timed Payments Block

Bitcoin payment processing platform BitPay has blocked payments to the Hong Kong Free Press (Hong Kong FP), according to the chief editor of the nonprofit press agency.

Tom Grundy accused BitPay of sitting atop their funds for almost three weeks. He said the US bitcoin firm held their money because Hong Kong banks do not support IBAN. That raised questions whether or not BitPay is IBAN-compatible.

"Never use BitPay, folks," tweeted Mr. Grundy, addng the company offers "truly the worst experience you can imagine - poor reputation, abysmal communication, horrible customer service, *very* high fees. Almost any alternative will be better."

War-ready

BitPay's inability to process Hong Kong FP's inward payments is now leading the news agency to "temporarily suspend" its crypto donation feature, confirmed Mr. Grundy. The chief editor threatened to drag BitPay and its co-founder/CEO Stephen Pair to court, saying he is "ready to go to war."

The statement occurs as Hong Kong FP remains one of the few balanced journalism outlets in the Chinese region. The nonprofit has been lately busy covering Hong Kong's ongoing Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill Movement from an unbiased point of view. With no source of central funding, Hong Kong FP continues to rely on donations credited by its readers and supporters alike (read their transparency report here).

Bitcoin, a permissionless, cross-border payment mechanism, assisted Hong Kong FP in raising close to HK$15,000 since 2015. Meanwhile, BitPay protected the agency from bitcoin's underlying price volatility. The firm converted all the incoming crypto donations to Hong Kong dollars in real-time before the final bank deposit.

Bitcoin Community Reacts

Respondents to Mr. Grundy's tweet recommended him to opt for peer-to-peer exchanges over centrally-controlled firms like BitPay. A Twitterati said:

"The worst part of most "Bitpay locked our funds" stories is the victims. [They] don't want to learn from their own mistakes. They keep using Bitpay after unlocking and hope that everything will be ok in the future. Habits brought on by banks are not easy to change."

Earlier in August, BitPay had faced criticism for blocking a transaction that intended to fight against the Amazon Rainforest fires.

CCN has contacted Tom Grundy and BitPay for additional statements. We will include them in this article as soon as we receive them.

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Yashu Gola @whoisyashu

New Delhi-based Yashu Gola has been working as a cryptocurrency analyst/journalist since 2013. He is an information technology graduate, a cryptography junkie, a filmmaking enthusiast, and an avid reader of Jon Erickson, Agatha Christie, JK Rowling, and Isaac Asimov.

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