The Moss Piglet Dilemma: Paypal Bans Payments to Merchants Using the Word ‘Tardigrade’

The popular payment provider Paypal has been known for cutting off a number of merchants and organizations over the years. This week, the public found out that Paypal has been censoring merchants that sell items related to the name “tardigrade” just because a Balkan arms dealer uses the same name. The story shows just how beneficial censorship-resistant money is today and how centralized monetary systems are ultimately doomed.

Ever since Paypal came out in 2001, the payment platform has seen broad use and a great number of users worldwide leverage the system. However, the payment processor is a centralized system, and over the years it has been known for restricting services to certain individuals and organizations.

For instance, Paypal censored the web portal Wikileaks and this invoked the nonprofit organization to start accepting bitcoin (BTC). Last year, Paypal shut off ties to workers leveraging the adult web portal Pornhub and 100,000 performers were left stranded. Now the most trafficked adult website worldwide accepts bitcoin (BTC) and litecoin (LTC) for payments.

Archie McPhee’s Paypal support response screenshot and some of the water pig or tardigrade themed ornaments he sells.

On September 11, Paypal once again was caught censoring merchants over the use of the name “tardigrade.” Basically, a tardigrade is an eight-legged micro-animal and people also call them “moss piglets” and “water bears.” The funny little water bears have a global fanbase and people collect all types of tardigrade merchandise.

On Twitter, the Seattle-based gift salesmen, Archie McPhee, complained that Paypal was censoring his tardigrade-themed products. The problem is there is a known Balkan arms dealer called Tardigrade Limited, and Paypal has blocked all payments to anything tethered to the word. This means any tardigrade merch that mcphee.com sells is banned by Paypal due to an algorithm that flags the name even if it is tied to moss piglet ornaments.

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