Will Manifold still be accepting payments through Stripe on March 1st?
resolved Mar 2

We've just received a somewhat ominous letter:

Reading through the Restricted Businesses list, it doesn't seem like the purchasing of mana should be prohibited (the closest restrictions look like crypto, or in-game currency, but Manifold looks okay on both counts by virtue of 1. not being crypto, and 2. owning the virtual goods that we're selling). I personally think it's just a administrative snafu and we should be able to work it out.

Possible escalation paths:

  1. Work it out through typical customer support

  2. Escalate through our Stripe contacts (maybe @patio11 can help?)

  3. Switch to Stripe Connect (?)

  4. Switch to another payment processor (Paypal?)

  5. Switch to crypto???

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I guess now we know what made Stripe really see reason and make the right choice.

I'd dramatically prefer switching payment processors to any change to charity markets.

So, the Stripe is account is meant to be closed today then? Any updates on this (and on whether Mana can still be donated to charity)?

predicted YES

@finnhambly We've received an extension through Mar 1 (which is why the market is trending so high); mana is still donateable to charity as of now; if we do decide to turn off charity redemptions, we'll give everyone some warning first (probably at least a week)

Just saw the comment below about the extension — thanks! Good to know there'll be warning about charity redemptions :)

predicted YES

Notes from a user:

fwiw the ability to ~launder charity money into mana is a huge portion of the value of the site to me, if that were going away I'd probably dump most of my positions and throw it all to givewell and mostly stop playing with manifold

I would never have bought mana with actual dollars if I didn't expect to be able to turn it into more mana and then into charity-dollars

My sense is opinions are very split on this; some people think charity cash-out is extremely important, while others are happy using Manifold regardless. I'm trying to think of a survey design that would assess how much our existing users care -- feel free to suggest ideas!

predicted NO

im not sure i woild use/amplify that specific phrasing if i was involved in a dispute with a payments company

predicted NO

@Austin FWIW I'm here for the predictions, never really used the charity feature.

How many users have converted mana to charity? This (probably) gives an upper bound on the number who care about keeping the ability

I am so sorry about this, the whole reason I got into Manifold and no other prediction markets is that I'm earning money betting for charity. Betting for meaningless internet points doesn't interest me that much. For me, the charity cash-out is basically the whole reason I'm active on this site (plus ease/addictiveness of use compared to, say, Metaculus), even though I haven't cashed out yet. I hope you can find a payment processor that allows cashing out for charity. I'll definitely stick with Manifold for a bit if there's no way to cash out for some time, but I'll just say this: I would totally be happy with having to pay a surcharge for buying Mana or using a slightly seedier payment processor than Stripe in exchange for getting to cash out to charity.

would not stick with a manifold that dealt in crypto, though. I do not like or trust crypto at all

Probably worth reminding people that markets like these are essentially predicting correlation, not necessarily causation. (If Manifold manages to do what they want, things are probably going well for them.)

@UnconditionalProbability Not if Manifold announces an intention to make their descision based on the markets. :)

bought Ṁ1,000 of YES

TL;DR another review thinks we're violating a different set of terms of service; but the transition date has also been extended to Mar 3rd:

Unfortunately, we will not be able to support your business on Stripe in its current state as it violates the Crowdfunding and Gambling umbrellas in our terms of service.

That said, there are three paths you can take here where we will be able to reconsider supporting your account. I do want to call out that we can’t guarantee supportability in any of the options, but we will do our best to be as transparent as possible with you.

  • Make the Mana payment flow a closed-loop system by removing the charitable donation piece, as well as any prizes of value (t-shirts, merch, etc), so that Mana can  not be redeemed in any manner.

  • Or alter your crowdfunding model to raise funds for a specific cause or project. 

    • You would still need to remove any prizes of value in this scenario.

  • Or you can meet our charitable gambling requirements by taking steps to.:

In both option two and three you would need to go through additional due diligence with us, which would involve a series of in-depth follow-up questions and requests for info from Stripe. Our team will support you through this process.

Please let me know if you would like to explore any of those three options.

In any case, we’re extending your Transition Out date from February 16th to March 3rd—this will hopefully help give you time to make a decision and, if you choose to, switch to another processor. If you need an alternative payment processor, we recommend considering PaymentCloud , which works with businesses with a higher level of risk than we're able to support.

bought Ṁ1,000 of NO

I added volume to this market in hopes that it draws more attention from users who may have contacts at stripe. congrats on getting big enough to catch the eye of sauron!

predicted YES

As a quick update, the issue we're in violation of appears to be

Sale of in-game currency or game items, unless the merchant is the operator of the virtual world

We're still continuing to follow up with Stripe's support team!

predicted NO

@Austin Is this why most freemium games have a regular currency and a premium currency? So they can carefully restrict the premium currency to only Stripe-approved exchanges?

predicted YES

@MartinRandall I doubt it, I think the reason to have separate currencies is that it's a good monetization strategy to be able to restrict certain ingame items to real USD only

@Austin I think you are considered as operator of the virtual world in this case.

bought Ṁ10 of NO

Could be due to the "gambling" rules since Manifold has run freezing competitions with real money prizes? Easy fix is to switch to mana prizes.

predicted NO

Freezing -> forecasting

bought Ṁ10 of NO

Hrm, latest update from our exchange with Stripe customer support:

predicted YES
predicted NO

@Austin so many questions...