- Independent content creators have not had it easy. The rise of platforms such as YouTube made it possible for them to compete with the heavyweights of the mainstream media with little overhead, and crowdfunding sites made it easier for them to secure funding without having to kowtow to the demands of sponsors. Even with these innovations, many creators suffer as a trend of financial deplatforming has taken these platforms by storm; creators who live month to month off of donations or ad revenue from these platforms fear the next wave of Adpocalypse and dread the threat of new terms of service arbitrarily hoisted upon them.
For many creators, MakerSupport was a breath of fresh air in the crowdfunding scene. This new platform offered creators of any ideology the ability to monetize their content without having to self-censor. Because MakerSupport didn't pay blood money to shady organizations to police wrongthink on their platform as other platforms do, creators were able to keep more of their pledges for doing what they love, and creators who had been censored by other crowdfunding sites flocked to the new platform.
Instead of being able to access their funds at the beginning of April when they went to MakerSupport, Creators found a message that their payments were being reviewed by Stripe. After several days with no word from MakerSupport, the company finally released a statement:
Then yet another week went by, with increasingly starving creators waiting for their payments, MakerSupport released another statement:
Finally on April 28, after almost a month of near silence, MakerSupport released a much more substantial statement regarding its problems with Stripe:
This isn't the first time that dissident thinkers and those who host them have run afoul of Stripe. In the wake of the Charlottesville Unite the Right rally in August 2017, Stripe arbitrarily stopped processing card payments for mainstream media boogeyman Richard Spencer's National Policy Institute. Leading up to the problems between MakerSupport and Stripe, Spencer was quoted in the title of a hit piece on MakerSupport by far-left Think Progress, “One of the other fundamental reasons why we’re on MakerSupport is that this is all we’ve got...We have been de-platformed from all major payment systems and other payment platforms. We can’t use them — but we can use MakerSupport.”
It's also possible that this is not arbitrary as Stripe also cuts service to users who pose a significant financial risk. Several users of the MakerSupport platform recently reported fraudulent charges, for which MakerSupport would be required to pay chargeback fees on. If card fraud could be weaponized on a mass scale, similar to how a DDOS attack would be used to take down a website, it could easily bring a business under and would essentially amount to economic terrorism.
For whatever reason Stripe has no-platformed MakerSupport and held creators' funds hostage, creators and donors are abandoning the platform with many creators calling for their supporters to cancel pending payments. It's possible that this could further antagonize the situation if MakerSupport is still racking up chargeback fees from canceled transactions.