Use Of Cryptocurrencies In Porn Industry
Use Of Cryptocurrencies In Porn Industry
February 21, 2021
Use Of Cryptocurrencies In Porn Industry
Use Of Cryptocurrencies In Porn Industry
February 21, 2021

Bitcoin and cryptocurrency payments have been gaining popularity in the porn industry. Nowadays, in fact, most adult websites accept cryptocurrencies as a means of payment, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and TRON, or those with a high level of privacy such as Monero and Zcash. 

In addition, some of them, including Pornhub, pay their “artists” using cryptocurrencies, such as Tether Dollar (USDT) through the Cosmo Payment or TronLink payment app. There are even some websites that only use cryptocurrencies, such as the Spankchain webcam hosting platform that uses its own SPANK cryptocurrency on SpankPay to pay performers with only about 5% commission, compared to the 50% usually held by the most common platforms.

Some pornstars have also become cryptocurrency supporters. For example, Brenna Sparks gave an interview in which she talked about the transformation of this industry, as she talked about Bitcoin. 

Also, some of them have revealed that activities in this sector are still considered to be high risk, even from a financial point of view, to the extent that artists are burdened with exorbitant costs for processing payments or credit card charges. 

They also allow maintaining a good level of secrecy for the users who use them on these websites, avoiding, for example, the discovery of where they spent their money, details which can be found on credit card statements. 

In this article, we will see all about Bitcoin, cryptocurrency, blockchain, and the porn industry!

The Payment System

It seems that the habit of making cryptocurrency payments on adult websites has not yet become widespread.

The marketing manager of CoinGate’s payment processor, Veronika Mishura, revealed that during the whole of 2019 they processed only 1,400 payments via Lightning Network on porn websites such as LiveJasmin and CooMeet, with an average amount of only 12 euros.

Increasing Number of Porn and users’ visits

It’s widely known that words as “porn” and “sex” are among the most searched ones on Google and it’s completely understandable why people have come across such content.

According to an article by Forbes outlining how much of the Internet is porn, for the year 2010, out of the top 1 million web sites, 42 227 were sex-related. That occupies only 4% of the Internet space.

For example, in 2016, Pornhub had 23 billion visits, which make around 64 million people a day viewing just one mainstream website.

In terms of content watched, and this is truly astounding, 5246 centuries’ worth of footage was viewed in just one year.

Data gathered by SimilarWeb showing the monthly traffic back in June 2019 allows people to see that 3.36 billion people have searched for and visited Pornhub, 2.26 billion have visited Amazon, and 1.81 billion have visited Netflix.

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Relationship between Blockchain and Porn

One of the most important features that blockchain can offer is the possibility for online porn users to pay for services and content. Purchasing those through a blockchain network means that they can leave no trace of their true identity nor let it be revealed.

One of the world’s leading adult entertainment websites such as PornHub is one of the platforms allowing usage of cryptocurrency as a method of payment within the website.

The great thing about blockchain and the porn industry is the ability to stimulate and reward the content creators, curators, or even porn viewers directly using different fungible or non-fungible blockchain-based tokens or coins. The most used cryptocurrencies include Bitcoin, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ether, TRON, Monero, and Zcash, but such platforms have the chance to develop their own blockchain-based utility token used only to be utilized in their platform.

Users have the chance to send token tips to online pornstars and also in order to gain more popularity. Porn sites can send their users tokens for encouraging them to watch and to tip through their streaming platforms. This can also be achieved in a truly peer-to-peer way without any intermediary cutting the cost for the middlemen.

Charlie Lee, the creator of Litecoin, once tweeted:

“The [$97 billion] porn industry is definitely a leading indicator of technology adoption. I’m glad to see them opening up to cryptocurrency.”

Likewise, Corey Price, the Vice President of Pornhub, said:

“Here at Pornhub, we’re all about convenience and security, which makes cryptocurrency an attractive form of payment for us. We’ve been looking at crypto for quite some time and, while overall adoption is relatively low, we think it has gained enough steam for us to penetrate the market.”

The cryptocurrency and sex work industries began to intersect in a serious way back in 2015 when Visa and Mastercard pulled their services from Backpage, a site for personal ads that were often used by sex workers (the website has since been seized by the FBI). At the time, both companies explained that the decision was made to end human trafficking.

When the two major payment providers exited the site, sex workers who relied on Backpage to connect with clients were forced to switch to crypto; Bitcoin, Dogecoin, and Litecoin became the only forms of payment that could be used on Backpage.

Moreover, a post by Bits and Chains, stated:

“Bitcoins and cryptocurrency would make it harder for pimps, and brothels, or the government to siphon off wages gained from prostitution.”

The post also notes that Bitcoin has been a financial tool for the homeless population and other demographics who are not part of the “formal” economy for some time.

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Cryptocurrencies do offer consumers of adult media and services exactly what many of them are seeking, that is “privacy.”

Views and Opinions about Cryptocurrencies in the Porn Industry

Aleksei Maetnyi, also known as Markus Dupree, the Co-founder of the porn studio VogoV, said:

“Businesses didn’t need to use something hazy and new, like crypto. Traditional technologies worked, and still work, pretty well for payments. Adult companies also recognized that (until recently) few of their customers used, or were clamoring to pay with, crypto.”

In 2017, major sites like xHamster and Naughty America finally started accepting Bitcoin. And over the first half of 2018, Pornhub and some of its sister sites announced partnerships with cryptocurrencies Horizen (formerly ZenCash), Tron, and Verge, and VRPorn.com started accepting Litecoin.

For consumers, cryptocurrencies promise a new type of anonymity. Although Hawkins argues that adult companies do a good job of trying to protect the privacy of their customers, porn buyers classically (and with some merit) fear that people in a bank or in their homes will be able to tell not just that they consume adult material, but what kinds, through their card statements. Cryptocurrencies, on the other hand, explains Sol, publicly record every transaction on a decentralized ledger, but use a pseudonym, potentially making it much more difficult for anyone to track a person’s porn habits. 

Alex Hawkins, the Vice President of major adult tube site xHamster, said:

“Whether you’re a married religious conservative in the United States, a gay male in Indonesia, or a fetishist in the United Kingdom, getting caught viewing or purchasing adult content can carry significant social and legal risks.”

Likewise, Lisa Moore, the Vice President of VRPorn.com, said:

“The benefits of cryptocurrency for adult businesses are so great that we would love to go 100% crypto in the future.”

Killian McGrath, the Co-Founder of Unhashed.com, said:

“Whether someone is trying to hide their purchases from a spouse, wants to avoid being part of a customer data hack (like Ashley Madison), or simply doesn’t feel comfortable giving their personal information to an adult website, cryptocurrencies can help. While Bitcoin provides pseudonymity, [which makes] it very difficult to find out what purchases someone has made, truly anonymous cryptocurrencies like Monero and Zcash make it impossible.”

The adult world’s new crypto platforms are experimenting with all manner of incentives for user adoption. VogoV and Vice Industry advertise discounts on content at some partner sites if users pay with tokens.

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SpankChain

SpankChain is a blockchain company that becomes the go-to payment platform for Internet porn with its new service, “SpankPay.”

According to the report, SpankPay will take a 0.5 percent cut of each crypto payment made on its platform, which is several times less than what a credit card company would collect. The crypto payment service has a few partners already like the webcam service SkyPRivate and an adult site called JustFor.Fans.

Ameen Soleimani, the CEO of SpankChain, said:

“With SpankPay, we are bringing immediate value to adult merchants by helping them accept crypto, avoid chargebacks, and reach a global audience.”

Chaturbate

Chaturbate is an adult website providing LIVE webcam performances by individual webcam models and couples.

Shirely Lara, the executive at Chaturbate, is a sex industry veteran who sees Bitcoin as a crucial part of her business. She has been keen on Bitcoin’s potential since 2018. 

Lara said:

“We accept 20 different cryptocurrencies for token purchases. The most popular ones are bitcoin, ethereum and litecoin.”

As per the sources, many of the leading sex industry corporations, like OnlyFans, Chaturbate, and MindGeek, appear to be owned by (relatively secretive) men, who are far removed from the public performers. Lara, who joined Chaturbate in 2011, is one of the rare examples of a woman who worked her way up to the executive level without first creating a personal porn star brand. Her work is primarily technical and operational.

As of October 2020, Chaturbate was the 65th most popular website in the world and the 5th most popular adult site.

She added:

“You asked if we hold on to bitcoin? We don’t. We cash out. But our broadcasters do (hodl), and I think that is so smart.”

Conclusion

As the porn industry is considered often technologically savvy, there’s a huge market for blockchain technology, as it is the solution for the most apprehensive porn industry’s issues regarding privacy and reputation among its clients.

The use of cryptocurrencies has also indirectly contributed to the tracing and prosecution of human traffickers, whose activities can be tracked through the blockchain.

This industry has much potential to benefit each other in big ways, as one only hopes that blockchain will continue to be used to make the adult industries more secure, more pleasurable, and safer for all participants.

Thus, cryptocurrency has also provided an avenue for sex workers to have more direct control over their money.

Image Source: Four/Four Magazine


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Ishita Bora

Ishita Bora is a Senior Content Creator at Digital Notice Media Labs with an experience of 1 year. She has completed her Master's Degree in Language and Linguistics in 2019 from Gauhati University, India. Her interest lies in blockchain technology and cryptocurrency space. She loves writing about blockchain and other blockchain-related articles.