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ProtonMail rakes in bitcoins after PayPal account freeze

It all works out in the end.


Patrick Howell O'Neill


Posted on Jul 1, 2014   Updated on May 31, 2021, 12:59 am CDT

Last night, PayPal froze $275,000 in donated funds belonging to ProtonMail, an easy email encryption service designed to make privacy mainstream.

A PayPal representative questioned the legality of encryption and wondered if the ProtonMail had government approval, a line of thought that has touched off a barrage of criticism.

The freeze has since been lifted—PayPal blamed the incident on a “technical problem”—but ProtonMail is not accepting donations via PayPal until they are assured that nothing like this will happen again.

Instead, supporters have donated over $3,100 in bitcoins in recent hours, pairing their money with messages like, “Keep up the awesome work and F*** Paypal.”

ProtonMail’s Bitcoin address has seen over $13,000 in donations (over 21 bitcoins) in the last two weeks, a number that is only going to go up as news of this controversy spreads.

Illustration by Jason Reed

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*First Published: Jul 1, 2014, 4:30 pm CDT