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.
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.