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