Bitcoin

Cody Wilson of 3D Gun and "Ghost Gunner" Fame Has His Companies Booted from Online Payment Processor Stripe

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Cody Wilson, famous for making the first usable fully plastic 3D printed handgun and for his new project "Ghost Gunner" which mills metal lower receivers (the milling machine itself is of course not a weapon, and what it makes is not itself legally a weapon) for AR-15s, informs me today that his online payment processor Stripe has decided that his companies, all of them, qualify as forbidden "weapons and munitions; gunpowder and other explosives" services. This includes the Ghost Gunner and Defense Distributed.

stripe

See Stripe's very impressive list of companies they (or their "banking partners") refuse to do business with, including virtual currency, anything they think violates IP in any way, fantasy sports leagues, marijuana or tobacco businesses, or e-cigs, pornography, bankruptcy lawyers, airlines cruises or timeshares or prepaid phone cards; and any legal substance that emulates an illegal substance, like salvia.  

Wilson tells me Stripe isn't superefficient at enforcing these rules, and some explicit gun businesses have told him they do use Stripe and get away with it, though most in the gun world are aware they are not welcome with the processing company.

In correspondence with Wilson, a Stripe representative referred to "pushback from our financial partners" regarding his businesses as triggering the end of their relationship.

"Stripe is a big startup that's supposed to promote 'disruption,'" WIlson notes, but obviously wants to do so only with "minimal intensity. Obviously if something is too distruptive banks don't like the risk. I've been completely excluded from the Bay Area payment processing universe."

This is yet another reason why the world most definitely needs another of Wilson's passions, Bitcoin: a means to transmit value online that depends in no way on censorious intermediaries like Stripe and their banking partners.

NEXT: Pianist Thinks He Can Use 'Right to Be Forgotten' Law to Remove His Bad Reviews, Accidentally Outs Himself as a Thin-Skinned Censor Instead

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  1. the milling machine itself if of course not a weapon, and what it makes is not itself legally a weapon!

    “is”, yes?

  2. I’ve never heard of this Stripe company, but after seeing how discriminatory they are, I will never use their services.

    1. Considering how many businesses/industries they are avoiding, I don’t even know if you could use their services? I mean, does Stripe have any customers?

      1. Foodtrucks mostly.

        1. I only pay cash to food truck operators.

          1. Department of Justice, if you’re reading this, I hope you’re keeping a close eye on this guy and his non-electronic interactions with the food truck menace.

            1. I bet UnCivil eats at a lot of kabob and falafel trucks too. Hmmmmm…

              1. I’ve actually never seen one of either.

                1. Sure, pal. Sure.

                  1. I bet you have pita bread stuffed down your underwear right now.

                    1. For all we know, all that falafel money is going straight to ISIS!

                      Incidentally, did anybody else Bourdain do Iran last night?

                      http://www.cnn.com/video/shows…..index.html

                      I’d put it on the short list for his Best Shows Evar.

                    2. Underwear?

                    3. I bet you have pita bread stuffed down your underwear right now.

                      Now this is just rank foolishness. Everyone knows you use naan!

    2. I think this is an excellent example of an entrepreneur being more responsive to the desires of its users than government ever would be.

      However, Shrike–not understanding the difference between consumer choice and government coercion–will be showing up to call you a hypocrite in 3…2…1…

      1. I’d be willing to bet that there’s some form of government coercion behind this.

        1. Yeah, I kinda suspect that now, too.

          See my comment below under Operation Choke Point

    3. I’ve never heard of this Stripe company, but after seeing how discriminatory they are, I will never use their services.

      If you’ve never heard of them, you probably won’t know if you did.

      There are legion of payment processors more than willing to deal with anyone and everyone willing to business right up to the edge of illegality.

      And then, of course, there are statists willing to do their best march that line further and further forward.

  3. ” In correspondence with Wilson, a Stripe representative referred to “pushback from our financial partners”

    Anybody else smell operation chokepoint?

    1. Yeah, it kinda does smell like that.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Choke_Point

      Maybe it’s not a good example of entrepreneurs being responsive to consumer demand after all.

      Maybe it’s a good example of government intrusion and a company being too scared to speak up–like the Telcos were about NSA surveillance.

    2. I doubt operation chokepoint was involved but I don’t doubt the odor, chilling effect, spectre or whatever was at play.

      It’s more cultural, there is/was no operation chokepoint to convince thingiverse (or wherever) they had to refuse hosting Cody’s designs, there’s no operation chokepoint bearing down on Stratasys (or wherever) to boot him off whatever equipment lease he held.

      1. The entire list of prohibited merchants on Stripe is cribbed from Operation Chokepoint. He could try Bitcoin.

        1. Maybe he should take The Bitcoin Pledge?

    3. Yes.

  4. This is yet another reason why the world most definitely needs another of Wilson’s passions, Bitcoin: a means to transmit value online that depends in no way on censorious intermediaries like Stripe and their banking partners.

    You’ve stolen a base here. There is nothing inherent about bitcoin that will prevent transaction processors from refusing to do business with one, many or a whole industry of people who wish to have transactions processed.

    1. But the more people can do transactions with each other, the less dependent they are on any particular transaction processor–isn’t that right?

      1. We can say the same thing about the very existence of Stripe. He could switch to Amazon Payments tomorrow. It isn’t about the currency.

        1. Payments would dump him in a second. So too Google, FirstData (any), Cybersource, etc.

    2. Would a bitcoin-to-cash service provider require you to divulge who you received the bitcoin from?

      1. Would a bitcoin-to-cash service provider require you to divulge who you received the bitcoin from?

        Legally?

      2. It isn’t technically certain to know the identity of who sent you money. In Bitcoin, you receive payment from an address that looks like this: 3J98t1WpEZ73CNmQviecrnyiWrnqRhWNLy

        The owner of the address may or may not be publicly visible. In some cases, you can infer who it is, e.g. if you are shipping merchandise to him, but in other cases, you can’t.

        1. It isn’t technically certain to know the identity of who sent you money.

          That’s great right up until you have to provide them with cash or trust them with whatever value you’ve handed them in (a) payment.

    3. If he doesn’t have to convert back to fiat money, then there’s no transaction processors. That’s a long way off but BTC can still get us there. The base was not stolen.

      1. Agreed. I was wrong.

        1. Not trying to flog you. I read your capitulation after I made that comment.

  5. Stripe IS a censorious intermediary; one can buy things with Bitcoin with NO intermediary. And in a sufficiently robust Bitcoin economy, one’s need to turn it into government cash becomes smaller. But yes, currently the US govt does believe that if you turn BtC to cash, you need to “know your customer.”

    1. And in a sufficiently robust Bitcoin economy,it’s possible one’s need to turn it into government cash becomes smaller.

      FIFY. I’m not saying it’s not the solution, just disagreeing that it *is* *the* solution.

      As BrettL points out, Stripe is no more about the currency than the Visa or MasterCard processor they process through is.

      1. Someone is completely misunderstanding someone here, or completely misunderstanding Bitcoin. With Bitcoin, you don’t need Stripe, you don’t need a bank, you don’t need Visa, you need NO intermediary at all who is able to tell you how you can use the value-transmitting power of Btc. If you want to turn Bitcoin into cash money, that’s a different thing, and again not a NECESSARY thing in a world where you can buy all sorts of things with Btc.

        1. I agree that Brian is right here and I am wrong. Once you have bitcoins, the distributed nature of bitcoin verification allows the transmission of value to be guaranteed by a group of bitcoin miners (anonymously) verifying the block chain, not by any one party like Stripe verifying both sides of the transaction. For some reason, I forgot this part and only remembered the money created mining. My mistake. Sorry for causing the misunderstanding.

        2. Someone is completely misunderstanding someone here, or completely misunderstanding Bitcoin.

          Yes, you gloss over the relationship of Stripe to the Dollar and focus on the relationship of Dollar to BTC.

          Stripe is pure credit, dollars expected not held. Measuring it in BTC expected does not change the fact that it is credit. There are no $$ exchanged or held in a credit transaction and, presumably, the same is true for credit transactions performed with BTC.

          While you may be completely willing to lend value, 100% (pseudo)anonymously to someone, history (even bitcoin’s short history) shows it to be a bad idea.

          So, will you lend me 1 BTC? I promise to pay you back.

          1. So, will you lend me 1 BTC? I promise to pay you back.

            Maybe. That may just be a part of the future.

            1. No maybe or the future about it. It’s the b.s./paradox that sits at the center of bitcoin/currency.

              I can transact 100% freely and anonymously and forego credit or I gain a reputation and decouple my value from the currency. This was true long before ECDSA was invented.

              Technically, the paradox is more like; zero overhead, transact freely, or complete anonymity, pick two.

          2. Stripe is pure credit, dollars expected not held. Measuring it in BTC expected does not change the fact that it is credit.

            It is not credit. You seem to be imposing a mental model about how traditional currencies are transacted upon how cryptocurrencies are transacted.

            There are no $$ exchanged or held in a credit transaction and, presumably, the same is true for credit transactions performed with BTC.

            Your presumption would hold if we were talking about credit transactions denominated in BTC, but we are not. We are talking about transactions denominated in BTC taking place on the Bitcoin network.

            1. It is not credit. You seem to be imposing a mental model about how traditional currencies are transacted upon how cryptocurrencies are transacted.

              It is credit. Anyone between the bank and the merchant can decline or refuse transactions for pretty much any reason and the customers/merchants are free to get pissed off and use cash. There is no Federal backing to any of it WRT merchants and customers. You seem to be confusing your tangential vision of the future with reality.

              Your presumption would hold if we were talking about credit transactions denominated in BTC, but we are not. We are talking about transactions denominated in BTC taking place on the Bitcoin network.

              Which is, effectively, converting a trust-based transaction measured in currency to a currency based transaction devoid of trust.

              You can’t have both flawless trust, perfect freedom, and total anonymity. As I said above, will you lend me 1 BTC? I don’t have my (bitcoin) wallet on me right now, but I promise to pay you back.

    2. Re-reading what Bitcoin wants to do, you are right. I withdraw my complaint.

  6. OT:
    Uber in the news:
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new…..hours.html

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new…..oween.html

    Surge pricing is a bitch. Especially when you’re too drunk to click the button that estimates the cost of the ride.

    1. You mean demand-based pricing?

      1. NYC car services practice this too but 900%? I have never heard of anything that extreme.

        1. There was some surge pricing in effect after a game where I live and I just waited half an hour. The surge pricing was more like 3x the price. So I was looking at something like a $30 or $40 ride home as I recall.

          If Uber really charges $362 for a 20 minute ride during surge times, this is an awesome opportunity for regular cabs to pick up the business.

          1. Also an opportunity for Lyft and other rideshare companies.

    2. From the comments:
      “It’s easy to bag $600 when you post a photo of yourself in your undies with your legs apart. Won’t work for me, though.”

      1. Was that even her? The caption leads me to believe it is but then further down is a pic of someone with fake red hair that’s less *ahem* “marketable.”

    3. Hard-partying woman raises almost $600 after she crowd-funded her $362 Uber fare following night out for 26th birthday

      She said that the charge left her unable to pay her rent of $450

      Maybe don’t party so hard, then.

      1. I’m trying to imagine having rent that low.

        1. Baltimore.

          1. Probably splitting with roommate(s) too.

        2. I had rent that low when I was renting a single room from a homeowner who had more house than they needed.

        3. I wouldn’t rent a bedroom out for $450.

    4. By the way, this is how regulation starts.

      1. Yep. A few weeks ago there was a fatal hayride accident, and the news reported that OMG HAYRIDES AREN’T REGULATED!

        So much for Farmer John giving the local kids a ride around the block anymore.

    5. Hard partying woman? How much did she spend drinking?

      Oh wait, I saw the picture, probably didn’t spend a fucking cent.

  7. Your lunch time derp:

    From the people who brought you “social justice” and “hate crime”, get ready for the next sensation in progspeak: dark money

    http://www.motherjones.com/pol…..dark-money

    http://www.msnbc.com/all-in/wa…..9714499663

    Bonus derp: my toddler nephew has a push car, which my brother decorated to look like a Tesla.

    1. So dark money would be like the NYT flogging progressive candidates without recognizing their efforts as in-kind transactions?

      1. NYT is legitimate, real media. They’re shielded from those accusations.

        1. That bastard rag is not legitimate.

    2. Dark money is 2012. Are they out of new ideas?

    3. The problem is that judges can be elected in America. Don’t have this problem in Canada.

      1. Ah, but you have lots of other problems in Canada.

        And Remy needs to do a piece on dark money, set to the tune of Cher’s “Dark Lady”.

      2. I’ve always thought that elected judges were a bad idea. At least when there is any possibility for reelection (a single 10 year term or something might work). There are problems with lifetime appointments too, but that judicial decisions can be affected at all by election politics seems like a very bad thing.

  8. has decided that his companies, all of them, qualify as forbidden “weapons and munitions; gunpowder and other explosives” services. This includes the Ghost Gunner and Defense Distributed.

    Well, don’t we have some actual precedent that says if you “host” something that later turns out to be illegal, that the feds can take you down as well?

  9. Stripe is one of those hipster/ progtard run businesses who think that the highest goal of any business should be to push their progtard views and SJW agenda as opposed to make money. A good rule of thumb is for any sane person to avoid doing any kind of business with these kinds of shitheads.

    Hopefully they’ll go out of business soon. Of course when they do, it will all be because of DA EVUL KKKAPITALIZMZ!11!!1!!!! and not because people don’t like doing business with smug proggie douchefucks who insist on injecting their politics into something as simple as processing payments.

    1. Stripe is one of those hipster/ progtard run businesses who think that the highest goal of any business should be to push their progtard views and SJW agenda as opposed to make money

      Meh, it’s their right to pursue that.

      1. True. And it’s my right to refuse to do business with them and to lambast them on the internet for being douches.

    2. Stripe is one of those hipster/ progtard run businesses who think that the highest goal of any business should be to push their progtard views and SJW agenda as opposed to make money. A good rule of thumb is for any sane person to avoid doing any kind of business with these kinds of shitheads.

      Not absolutely equivalent, but certainly smells like smoke to me;

      Joint Statement Regarding MtGox


      Bitcoin operators, whether they be exchanges, wallet services or payment providers, play a critical custodial role over the bitcoin they hold as assets for their customers. Acting as a custodian should require a high-bar, including appropriate security safeguards that are independently audited and tested on a regular basis, adequate balance sheets and reserves as commercial entities, transparent and accountable customer disclosures, and clear policies to not use customer assets for proprietary trading or for margin loans in leveraged trading.

      IDK, about other BTC fanboys, but this sounds less like a libertarian revolution and more like a network of hipster/millenial businessmen slowly relieving their boomer businessmen’s custodians and putting their own custodians in place.

  10. McMillan merchant solutions promotes themselves as 2A friendly.
    http://www.mmsllc.com/

    I became aware of them after following Colion Noir on twitter.

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