PayPal, the Internet payment processing giant, has already banned some USENET providers and NZB sites from receiving payment. As an alternative to taking payment from PayPal, some of these NZB sites have started taking bitcoin, which is becoming increasingly easy to use.
Coinbase, which makes the process of using bitcoin easier through a simple payment interface, has entered into a partnership with PayPal, allowing the merchants on the PayPal network to accept bitcoin as a form of payment.
There is both bad and good to this development. On the good side of things, this does make bitcoin a lot easier for people to use. The fact that companies that specialize in helping people use bitcoin have popped up all over and the fact that more merchants are taking it is, partially, due to the fact that people are interested in using this Internet currency.
On the bad side of things, PayPal’s tendency to disallow sites that violate their rather expansive terms of service from receiving payment is troubling, particularly if bitcoin payments get tied up with PayPal as much as credit card and other types of payments have.
In these arrangements, PayPal will serve as an intermediary, allowing the transaction to go through. This means that, of course, it’s quite possible that people who have been using bitcoin to take payments through Coinbase could find themselves unable to do so. In fact, the owner of one popular NZB site has already received a notice from Coinbase saying that his site violated their terms of service and they could no longer do business with him.
Bitcoin is becoming very popular precisely because it does embody a bit of freedom. The crypto currency allows people located in nations where they could be viciously persecuted for using services such as USENET and VPN to get those services anonymously. With PayPal getting more into the mix, however, the various payment options available online could become more tied together and controlled by one entity; an entity that has already proven itself to be hostile to NZB sites and some USENET providers.
Nonetheless, the bright side is the fact that using bitcoin will get easier than ever for many people, so there is some good to take away from the development, even if it does imply a bit of hazard for NZB site owners.