Although it’s one of the largest, this industry faces some of the most debilitating challenges. Spankchain, a blockchain startup serving the adult entertainment industry noted in a blog post the main pain points for this industry. Top of the list is payment processing. It’s not a secret that major payment providers like PayPal and Stripe do not support adult entertainment businesses, including those dealing in sex toys and pornography.
Spankchain’s founders reckon that customers also need to transact discreetly, but existing payment methods won’t offer that, partly because of KYC policies that they must adhere to.
Besides, popular social media sites like Facebook bar merchants in the adult industries from advertising their businesses on social platforms.
There’s also the growing challenge of chargebacks, synonymous with this industry. Chargebacks are a thorn in the industry because of a small loophole that allows customers to reverse credit card transactions.
Spankchain developers reason that there’s only one technology that addresses all the above pain points; blockchain. So, how can blockchain technology be harnessed to transform the adult entertainment industry?
One of the outstanding features of Bitcoin and the blockchain technology is decentralization. The idea is that no central bank or central authority controls the blockchain, the underlying technology behind cryptocurrencies. Essentially, it’s a permanent ledger of transactions that’s stored in decentralized computers, known as nodes. That being the case, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are able to offer peer-to-peer, trustless payments with low fees, compared to traditional payment gateways. It’s worth noting that some cryptocurrencies allow for cross border transactions at zero costs.
Anonymity is another quality that endears the blockchain to the adult entertainment industry. In the real sense, the adult entertainment industry thrives when merchants and their customers trade discreetly. Generally, customers aren’t happy to leave a trail of their personal details online. And blockchain technology allows anonymous transactions, a big boost for ‘vice’ industries. While virtual coins like Bitcoin allow for pseudonymous transactions, others like Monero and ZCash are truly anonymous.
Fast, low fee payments
With this in mind, a raft of businesses in the adult niche are adopting cryptocurrencies as their primary method of payment. If a 2018 survey conducted by VogoV is any measure, the convergence of the adult entertainment and cryptocurrency industries is shaping up quickly. The VogoV survey noted that 470 adult video sites were accepting cryptocurrency as their preferred method of payment. This includes PornHub, the largest pornography website that has since partnered with Verge and PumaPay to process payments.
CoinDesk reported that adult entertainment merchants are streaming back to Bitcoin payments, which are now faster and cheaper thanks to the Lightning Network, a scalable layer that runs on the Bitcoin blockchain.
As a result, payments startups like OpenNode and CoinGate processed 68, 970 and 1, 400 Lightning invoices last year. At the same time, Lightning analytics firm 1ML.com announced that there are 11,554 lightning nodes online, showing a resurgence of BTC as a payment method.
But these aren’t the only pain points that the blockchain technology is addressing in the ‘vice’ industries. It’s finding many practical use cases, including a reward model.
In recent years, blockchain-based reward models have recorded significant success in other industries. They are now finding their way into the adult entertainment space.
Basically, adult content platforms reward viewers with free tokens that they can redeem and use in the ecosystem. Most adult content websites, including sex toy shops and pornography sites are using a reward system to incentivize their customers to return.
The adult entertainment and the blockchain industries have a long history of interactions, but blockchain’s innovative use cases show a possibility of convergence. As more blockchain based solutions emerge, experts are bullish of a thriving symbiotic relationship between the two industries. Two years ago, Charlie Lee, the founder of Litecoin, said he was delighted to see the lucrative porn industry embracing the blockchain.
In conclusion, the blockchain industry benefits as it processes the millions of dollars in the adult entertainment space. At the same time, the ‘vice’ industries are benefitting from a novel piece of technology that allows them to be more secure and to thrive.