Taiwan joins Puerto Rico in a club no one wants to be a part of — starting September 21st residents with a PayPal account will no longer be able to send or receive funds to and from each other. This news again comes as a result of PayPal being burdened by government regulation. In their announcement they stated,
These changes will take effect from September 21, 2015, and you will not be able to use your PayPal account registered in Taiwan to send payments to, or receive payments from, other PayPal accounts registered in Taiwan. Please note that you will still be able to receive payments from international sales and trading, as well as make payments for purchases of goods or services from overseas merchants.
While residents can still send and accept payments from outside the country they will be prohibited from peer-to-peer payments. It’s tragic that such a useful service for easy payments can be compromised by the cloaked iron fist of the state.
Taiwan has raised concerns before about money laundering and has wanted to set up their own payment system for years. While money laundering is huge concern, anti-money laundering legislation here in the U.S. and abroad has not stopped major criminals from laundering funds and instead has targeted small businesses and entrepreneurs who have everything to lose because they missed the fine print. The AML compliance regulations are no easy read and many people are so confused about them that they get into bigger trouble trying to avoid invasive reporting.
While PayPal has been stifled, the Taiwan government hopes to roll out its own third party payment system to rival PayPal and Alipay but anyone who knows the first thing about allowing government that much control over personal transactions knows how bad of an idea that would be. PayPal and other centralized payment processors have learned that the price of legitimacy is submission and when the state completely controls finances the people are disempowered.
Bitcoin is needed more than ever in a world where governments not only limit what organizations can do but directly target individuals through monopolization. Unlike developing nations where internet access is limited, Taiwan could be an excellent place for bitcoin usage to thrive in. And as we all know, there’s no stopping the bitcoin signal once it’s out.