Blockchain technology promises to revolutionize a number of industries and it has made its way into the most obscure sectors of society.
The old saying ‘sex sells’ rings true in this day and age and the industry is truly massive, catering to a voracious appetite for services like dating websites, pornography, strippers and other sexual offerings.
Given the massive market for these types of offerings, it's not surprising that some innovative minds have seen the value that Blockchain technology can offer their specific businesses.
Some of it is groundbreaking, while other instances have merely adopted the use of cryptocurrencies as a means of payments for their wares. Nevertheless, it shows how cryptocurrency adoption is growing across a broad economic spectrum.
The benefits of anonymity
As British tabloid The Sun reported last month, performers at a popular Las Vegas strip club have started accepting tips for their services in cryptocurrency.
Some of the scantily clad strippers have temporary QR codes on their body, allowing clients to pay for their services with virtual currencies.
The owner of the club, Nick Blomgren, maintains that it is a stroke of genius that allows people to keep their raunchy proclivities hidden, given the use of cryptocurrencies which facilitate anonymous transactions.
One of the performers at the club said some banks will even cancel accounts of clients that are found to be working in the adult entertainment industry. Cryptocurrencies protect their privacy while providing an anonymous means of getting paid.
Infamous American brothel The Bunny Ranch is also understood to be exploring the use of Bitcoin as a payment option.
Owner Dennis Hof also hammered home the power of privacy provided by cryptocurrency. Wealthy clientele go to great lengths to keep their sexual habits a secret, and being able to pay for their after-work hobbies anonymously goes a step further in ensuring that happens.
Platforms powering adult content
Adult entertainment lives online and the appetite for content far outweighs seems to have outgrown available advertising revenue. Blockchain startup Vice Industries recognized this and turned the idea on its head.
Users of the service are rewarded for watching content in VIT tokens, which can then be used to pay for premium content and other services of participating websites.
Its ICO raised $22 mln, and it’s been supported by the likes of Penthouse and more recently Playboy, who will adopt the service to allow users to pay for access to explicit content with virtual currency.
Blockchain overhauling online dating
According to Forbes, the online dating industry is a $3 bln market, with the likes of Tinder pushing the envelope in the past few years. Data from GlobalWebIndex indicated that 91 mln people worldwide were using dating apps in 2015, with men accounting for over 66 percent of that number.
With that being said, there are a number of ICOs that are looking to overhaul the online dating space. This specific sector of the market is massive, with millions of hopeful singles looking to find love online.
A quick Internet search brings up a couple of interesting ICOs that want to reinvent online dating services with the use of Blockchain technology.
Matchpool isn’t really a dating app, it's more of a tool to help people find like-minded individuals with similar interests and setup platforms to bring groups of people together.
Nevertheless, it’s a tool that connects people, whatever their interests and this in itself is a platform that facilitates genuine connections between people.
Meanwhile, out-and-out dating Blockchain apps Hicky and Luna launched their token sales last month, the former on Valentines Day, and these two platforms marry conventional dating apps with Blockchain in an interesting way.
Hicky’s platform promises to provide genuine profiles through face and voice recognition, ruling out the creation of fake accounts by bots. Interactions between users will be facilitated by microtransactions with the HKY tokens, in the hopes of reducing spam messages between users.
The main drawcard here is genuine verification of users and safety of information encrypted on the Blockchain. However is this enough of an innovation to challenge the likes of Tinder and other popular dating apps and websites?
Luna’s developers highlight the shortcomings of conventional dating apps in their white paper. Namely “poor messaging behavior, fake accounts, and misuse of personal data.”
So their offering is pretty simple, users of the app have to pay to send messages with tokens called Stars to other users they’re interested in. The more you pay to send a message, the higher it sits in the recipient’s inbox.
Luna hopes to reduce spam messages, and once a conversation is started, the two users don’t need to pay any further fees to converse.
One potential shortcoming is the assumption that users will be willing to pay in order to start conversations with other users.
Nevertheless, these three platforms provide fresh ideas, using the benefits of Blockchain technology in an effort to facilitate communication, matchmaking and dating to modern society. It’s a fresh take, from the ‘swipe left swipe right,’ ‘pay more to search’ offerings of conventional dating apps.
Some are a bit more obscure. Legalfling allows people to sign a live contract stipulating that they’ve consented to various sexual interactions. It means people have made it clear what they’ve agreed to - and that information is safely stored on the Legalfling Blockchain.
Should people come to a dispute over their sexual interaction, whatever the reason, they will be able to battle it out in court with a legal record of what they’d actually consented to, as the contracts are legally binding.
It’s an interesting innovation, which could help solve criminal cases like rape and abuse.
The question is whether people will take the time to open an app and stipulate how far they're willing to go in the heat of the moment?
A sign of the times
Early adopters have traditionally been ahead of the pack and the same is likely to go for the adult entertainment industry. Businesses offering cryptocurrency payment options could well find support from patrons.
Furthermore, industries that have been transformed by technology, like dating apps over the past 10 years, are going to be challenged by companies using Blockchain to drive innovation in their offerings.
Many more are sure to follow suit, as we’ve seen in the financial sector. Investment firms have been clamoring to catch up with CME and CBOE and their landmark Bitcoin futures offerings in December.
Online offerings stand the most to gain from Blockchain technology and the next Tinder or similar services could well be back by this technology.