Porn and Bitcoin: It’s time for a serious discussion

The online porn industry is massive, and it has been a major influencer of many revolutionary web technologies. Case in point: Snapchat’s $3 billion valuation.

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Porn and Bitcoin: It’s time for a serious discussion

Let’s face it. Pornography is the bread and butter of the Internet.

The online porn industry is massive, and it has been a major influencer of many revolutionary web technologies. Case in point: Snapchat’s $3 billion valuation.

So Bitcoin, a digital currency that afford users pseudonymity and spends easily across borders, is a naturally complementary technology, right?

Well, kind of.

CoinDesk reported this week that 10% of all sales on Porn.com are made in Bitcoin. Porn.com only integrated Bitcoin payments about six weeks ago, and while those figures are down from the Bitcoin spike the company saw at the time of the announcement, it’s a clear indication that there is a Bitcoin market for adult sites.

Also this week, certain, um, enthusiasts have noted that IKnowThatGirl.com has introduced Bitcoin payments, at least for users on an American IP address. This is huge because that site is one of the many in the Manwin portfolio.

Manwin isn’t a household name, but the sites it operates are: PornHub, Brazzers, Mofos, and many more. If Manwin chief Fabian Thylmann, whom CNBC described as “the new king of porn” two years ago, green lights Bitcoin across his company’s sites, that could be a much bigger push into the mainstream than what Overstock or TigerDirect have done.

Millions of browsers. In Incognito Mode. With Bitcoin wallets open. 24/7.

So why has Bitcoin’s porn revolution not already arrived?

One major issue is Bitcoin’s inability to allow recurring payments. Many paid porn sites require users to become members, and the sites charge a monthly fee for access.

That means end users who pay in Bitcoin would have to make their purchasing decision every month, and you can imagine a great number of customers would not re-up their memberships at the beginning of Month 2.

Buyer’s remorse factors heavily into the adult media industry, and for the same reason a hotel guest will adamantly lie about buying four or five adult films from the hotel’s on-demand TV service, a porn subscriber will opt out after a month of access.

Actually, that subscriber might try to opt out on day 5 and demand a refund, claiming “fraudulent charges” or identity theft or whatever. Yeah right, dude. And this is Bitcoin’s other big benefit: No charge backs.

Still, the privacy Bitcoin affords the porn connoisseur and the protection Bitcoin affords the merchant may not be enough to overcome that month-to-month buyer’s remorse hurdle.

But that’s really just a matter of tweaking a company’s business model. That’s a small hurdle for an industry that just a generation ago was distributing its product in the back rooms of independent video stores.

Every industry has to adapt to disruptive technologies at some point, and if any industry has proved it can adapt to change, it’s the pornography industry.

 

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