Bitcoin could help so many more sex workers find financial freedom if customers are willing to pay with Bitcoin.
The adult content platform OnlyFans reportedly plans to stop allowing “sexually explicit” content in October due to pressure from various banking partners and instead concentrate on serving less controversial corners of the “creator economy”. Sex industry experts are generally appalled at the human rights impact of this move, but hardly surprised.
Credit card giants like Mastercard and Visa stopped using Pornhub in 2020. At both the platform and individual levels, including sex workers’ personal Venmo and PayPal accounts, the American banking system works systematically to force an entire sector of society into submission. Although companies similar to Chaturbate use both Bitcoin and dollars through credit cards, there are no public plans for OnlyFans to switch to Bitcoin as a replacement for traditional services.
One of the main reasons sex workers don’t primarily rely on Bitcoin is that customers rarely use Bitcoin to pay. (If you own Bitcoin, wonder if you would be willing to pay a performer directly with your precious Satoshis?) Many OnlyFans artists, like Findom veteran Allie Eve Knox, are already accepting Bitcoin. However, based on interviews with dozens of sex workers over the past four years, I’ve been able to count on one hand the number of performers I’ve met with Bitcoiner regulars. In contrast, there are many customers who are willing to pay for erotic content by credit card. In comparison, Bitcoin owners have a higher propensity to save on digital assets rather than spend them.
But there are some Bitcoin owners who pay for porn. In 2020, a representative from FanCentro, a website that allows adult movie cast members to sell access to their personal social media accounts, told CoinDesk that its platform was making “thousands of dollars” worth of bitcoin transactions on erotic videos made possible. If Bitcoin owners vote on their wallets and show the world that people cannot simply be kicked out of the entire financial system just to enforce political correctness, then sex workers will regularly use Bitcoin as a cypherpunk tool for legitimate censorship resistance. (Selling sexual content is a perfectly legal job.) There are roughly a million creators on OnlyFans, most of whom are women in the sex industry. Paying women with Bitcoin is the most direct and actionable way any porn user can promote social justice. (And let’s face it, if you’re reading this, you’ve probably seen porn.)
Artists who manage their payments directly themselves have more control over their own security. There are no risky strangers on the street and no studios or managers pushing artists to do something they don’t want to do. It is important to remember that strip clubs and studios that make sexy music videos are not subject to such bank scrutiny. Women can still sell sex through businesses. It is personal responsibility that the banking system perceives as so threatening, the ability to create and distribute its own content.
There is only one option for OnlyFans performers to switch to using Bitcoin. If bitcoins bond with their favorite cast members, treat them like humans rather than faceless bodies for free consumption, and figure out how to send them bitcoin, then it makes good business sense for the adult industry to deal with the hassle of bitcoin payments infrastructure .
It’s easy. Most performers have websites with contact forms or ways to contact them through social media. If you can’t find a bitcoin option yet, ask for it.
Women struggling to make money how they want and spend it how they want is one of the essential human rights struggles of our generation. (Keep in mind that until 1974, many American women were unable to open a credit card in their own name, as many banks would only give credit cards to women with the consent of their husbands until the Equal Credit Opportunity Act was passed and would refuse to grant them to unmarried women .) This shift to direct Bitcoin payments could mark the beginning of a new sexual revolution.
Isn’t that the whole point of Bitcoin? To make our own decisions? Your credit card company and bank may not allow this type of freedom of expression. But if you do, you will find a way to use bitcoin to pay for porn. See for yourself. The possibilities are limitless.
Correction: This article originally suggested that American women were denied their own bank accounts until 1974. It has been updated to reflect that American women habitually declined their own credit cards.