Why “Bitcoin is the only choice” for many people in the sex industry

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Sex workers have no voice in the governance of their online sites and face rising difficulties in earning and investing their money.

Although bitcoin has a powerful use case in the sex industry, embracing blockchain is a double-edged sword for sex workers.

The Bitcoin Learning Curve is Steep and Problematic

Those in the sex industry have turned to Bitcoin for necessity.

In December, Mastercard and Visa broke ties with Pornhub over reports of illicit content, leaving Pornhub a crypto-only website.

Such payment providers, such as PayPal, often have stringent laws restricting their services to sex jobs, leaving workers themselves in a tough position when it comes to making a living.

One alternative, of course, is to support Bitcoin.


One solution is, of course, accepting Bitcoin.

Bitcoin sex industry

According to Kristen DiAngelo, a sex worker and activist with decades of business experience. “U.S. banking guidelines have placed pressure on banking networks, credit card systems, and internet payment platforms to undermine the right of sex workers to use these places,” DiAngelo said.

She clarified that payment related to the uploading of advertisements for adult content is currently severely restricted.

“While we are grateful to be able to use Bitcoin to post ads, as the alternative would be catastrophic, the learning curve has been steep and we continue to lose purchasing power due to Bitcoin fluctuations. In addition, we have trouble translating earnings to actual money in which to pay our bills.”

The result, she said, is that sex workers must work harder than ever to earn money.

Banking Laws Strangle Sex Industry

While DiAngelo’s work is perfectly legal, the U.S. banking system treats it with hostility. In 2014, JPMorgan closed hundreds of sex workers’ accounts without warning or explanation.

“Payment for legal work can be flagged by the bank and thus cause us to lose our accounts,” said DiAngelo. She added that in the face of this situation, Bitcoin is often the best bet.

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“I myself have undergone this forced banking migration three times,” she said, adding that “Bitcoin is our only option.”

Adoption is, as always, the main obstacle.

DiAngelo found out that sex workers are unable to bind their bank accounts to BTC wallets due to high bank surveillance, with accounts being flagged even though all income is tax-declared.

This assumes that payment accepted in Bitcoin will only be used for providers that support Bitcoin, generating a closed-loop mechanism that removes this revenue from other products and services.

According to DiAngelo, sex workers have been forced to host their own web servers, function via VPNs, and use Bitcoin ATMs at every turn at additional cost.

The dilemma is that stringent laws are allegedly proposed to protect sex workers while, in essence, they serve only to protect large corporations.

“These barriers are all in place to help ‘save’ us, when in fact, they act to marginalize us further, and actually act as barriers to us transitioning to any other line of work or lifestyle.”

Although sex workers have more sites to choose from than ever before, they have no voice in the administration of these platforms or their payment methods.

Using Crypto to Fight the Banks

Gween Black, a sex worker involved on OnlyFans, has decided that crypto is still the best option open. “I see a lot of models using crypto because it’s faster and easier to get charged,” she said.

“We don’t need to share personal data with the customer and the fees can go as low as cents depending on how they send.”

Protecting personal data is especially relevant in an industry that faces the possibility of stalking and abuse by its consumers.

Black stated that there has been a “huge boom” in crypto adoption in the sex industry since 2015.

“Sex workers and the porn industry always pushed technology (VHS, VR, internet purchases protection) and crypto isn’t anything new. Banks keep banning and stealing our money and with crypto we have the protection and freedom we always seeked.”

However, the use of crypto is better said than achieved.

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Allie Eve Knox, an early adopter who started using crypto when she joined the sex work business in 2014, was looking for fiat options when she was removed from multiple payment applications.

“I wanted a way to take money without having to run it through places that take a big cut,” Knox said before reflecting on the pros and cons of using crypto.

“Pros are that there are no chargebacks, the exchange fees are very low compared to adult payment processors, and we can take payments from people all around the world,” she said, adding that “the fluctuating price is sometimes a really fun thing.”

However, the crypto educator and SpankChain advisor also vented her frustration at the disadvantages of the technology.

“On-chain,” she said, “everyone can see everything. Everyone — your peers, your ex-husband, the government. It is also very hard to understand. Explaining this to someone that just needs to pay her rent in the next 12 hours is a whole thing.”

Knox added that while it’s tough to get people to pay for porn in the first place, “it’s much harder to get people to buy porn with crypt.”

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She finished by suggesting that there was an uptick in the implementation of the bull race. “This is a brilliant place for models to get their hands on crypto, think about exchanges, and spend.”

Crypto is not the final solution to the problem, but it may improve over time.

When emerging developments become available and the use of blockchain is becoming more popular, the industry may see a significant reform of how sex workers and other independent contractors receive payment.

At that point, conventional banking services would either need to be adapted to suit or leave behind.


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