Paypal Freezes ProtonMail Campaign Funds
UPDATE 1: 7/1/2014 0900h, Still no response from PayPal, our campaign page can still be viewed here. Credit card and Bitcoin contributions are still possible at this time.
UPDATE 2: 7/1/2014, 1700h, PayPal has let us know that the restrictions on our account have now been lifted and we have been able to extract our funds. Thank you for your support on this matter, it no doubt played a large part in getting PayPal to do the right thing in record time.
This morning, we received an email and telephone call from PayPal notifying us that our account has been restricted pending further review. At this time, it is not possible for ProtonMail to receive or send funds through PayPal. No attempt was made by PayPal to contact us before freezing our account, and no notice was given.
Like many others, we have all heard the PayPal horror stories, but didn’t actually think it would happen to us on our campaign since PayPal promised, very recently, to improve their policies. Unfortunately, it seems those were hollow promises as ProtonMail is now the latest in a long string of crowdfunding campaigns to be hit with account freezes. (For examples, just look here, here, and here).
While the $275,000 ProtonMail has raised in the past 2 weeks is a large amount, it pales in comparison to many other crowdfunding campaigns that have raised sums in excess of $1,000,000 so we can’t help but wonder why ProtonMail was singled out. When we pressed the PayPal representative on the phone for further details, he questioned whether ProtonMail is legal and if we have government approval to encrypt emails. We are not sure which government PayPal is referring to, but even the 4th Amendment of the US constitution guarantees:
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures….”
It seems PayPal is trying to come up with ANY excuse they can to prevent us from receiving funds.
As a result, we have disabled PayPal as a payment option on our campaign page, but it is still possible contribute with credit card and Bitcoin. Please help us get the word out there as by bringing attention to this issue, we may be able to convince PayPal to do the right thing. And if anybody from PayPal is listening, we’ve emailed and called today, please get in touch with us as soon as possible.