Bitpay is facing a backlash against its decision to implement a controversial feature it says is meant to protect bitcoin users. The leading payment processor is accused of abusing its dominant position to bully wallet providers into supporting its plans, degrading users’ privacy and hurting the use of bitcoin altogether.
Bitpay Power Play
Bitpay, the digital asset service provider based in Atlanta, Georgia, is coming under attack for a recent protocol change. As we reported at the time, only a handful of other wallets currently support BIP70 and its implementation is controversial. Meant to prevent main-in-the-middle attacks by using QR codes, critics fear BIP70 introduces legacy public-key infrastructure dependencies and its widespread implementation will create an increased risk of AML/KYC surveillance and monitoring of transactions.
Founded in May 2011 by Tony Gallippi and Stephen Pair, Bitpay is widely considered to be the largest bitcoin payment processor in the world today. The company is accused of leveraging this power to coerce bitcoin wallet developers to support its position or be left out of reach for many merchants.
The developers of the privacy-centric bitcoin wallet, Samourai, commented: “Users should stand up to this kind of arrogance and stand up for their privacy. Samourai has already started the process of contacting all vendors we rely on who utilize BitPay as a payment processor and informing them of our intention to switch vendors, as using Bitpay is no longer tolerable or feasible. We hope others join us.”
BIP70 Instead of Segwit
The move was also criticized by bitcoin core developers for adopting BIP70 over segwit. The company didn’t need more negative feedback at this time as Bitpay was already under a lot of public pressure over its recent actions like limiting BTC transaction to $100 minimum and quickly backtracking and stopping all non-US credit cards.
The Samourai team added: “We absolutely do not support Bitpay in agressively using their dominant position of market share to bully wallet providers into supporting their business plans or bully users into a system that degrades their privacy and the fungibility of bitcoin as a whole. Bitpay should focus on repairing their image and brand after the cataclysmic failure of the Segwit2x Fork they helped architect, instead of reinforcing their image as an out of touch bully looking to hijack the network for their own gain.”
Is Bitpay abusing its power or just looking out for its users? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.
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