Nobel Laureate and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman faced the wrath of bitcoin supporters after complaining about issues with Venmo, the centralized payment processor. Krugman’s tweet triggered a barrage of comments from cryptocurrency fans who asserted that Krugman’s experience highlighted the necessity of censorship-resistant payment systems.
Krugman, who had previously expressed skepticism towards bitcoin, took to Twitter to vent his frustration with Venmo, a third-party payment provider. In a tweet on Wednesday, the economist announced that he was experiencing payment issues.
“Too busy to tweet. But not to vent,” Krugman tweeted. “I’ve been using Venmo for years, but now it won’t allow me to make payments. I spent a long time in chat with representatives, and they told me that they can’t explain why — or fix it. The software has taken control.”
Bitcoin proponents, including Microstrategy’s Michael Saylor, were quick to respond, with many using the hashtag #BitcoinFixesThis. Some bitcoin supporters quoted Krugman’s own writings in the past, in which he expressed skepticism towards the cryptocurrency market.
In a tweet, one individual questioned Krugman’s skepticism, asking “Exactly what is [bitcoin] supposed to be doing that we don’t already mostly do?”
Krugman did not respond to the crypto fans, despite numerous comments. One individual even quoted from the bitcoin white paper, suggesting that Krugman should try using a peer-to-peer version of electronic cash that would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution.
Krugman’s tweet seemed to have resolved his payment issue, however. Shortly after his first tweet, the economist explained that his complaint on social media helped resolve the problem.
“And tweeting got results. A representative called and we seem to be up again,” Krugman told his 4.5 million followers on social media.
Krugman’s experience with Venmo is not unique, however. Billionaire investor Mark Mobius recently encountered difficulties in getting his funds out of HSBC China, and his issue was also criticized by bitcoin enthusiasts who suggested that censorship-resistant money like bitcoin would have helped him avoid such problems.