Sex Tech

4 Reasons Why the Sex Industry is Embracing Blockchain

Hopes are running high that the ledger system will revolutionize sex work.

A woman wearing aviatar sunglasses with the Ethereum logo on each lens.

While sex has always involved a wide range of risks, from contracting a curbable infection to becoming the victim of a hate crime, people who sell sexual services often suffer most.

It would be comforting to say things are getting better for people in the consensual sex trade. But while there have been some positive developments, for far too many sex workers continue to live with high levels of fear and anxiety.

While the sex part of the sex industry still brings a great deal of this stress, it is the industry side itself that can be most dangerous to people working in the trade.

Payment for sexual services

The first part of this is money: the exchange of it for sexual services. Sex workers have long had to deal with the fear of being ripped off: of clients either not paying or stealing, often with violence or threats of violence once an act has been performed. There is also the legal problem of openly exchanging money for sex, with law enforcement using it as evidence in prosecutions.

For a while, online payment processors like PayPal showed some promise, until it began freezing sex workers’ accounts and not accepting their business.

But then came the blockchain: this universal open ledger system has the potential to transform the industry and keep power, and of course money, in the hands of sex workers.

1. Security for sex workers

You have probably heard of blockchain in relation to digital coins and tokens, but it has a lot more going for it than just Bitcoin.

At its core, blockchain are decentralized and universal ledger systems, which means their data doesn’t live in any one place—and not at all physically.

The already-mentioned Bitcoin is a monetary form of blockchain. Exchanges of this digital currency cannot be traced and, as they don’t exist in a central location but instead on a network, can be totally anonymous.

This all makes the blockchain, and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, practically perfect for a business where safety and trust can sometimes be rare commodities.

Empress Katana, a professional dominant, speaking to The Outline put it directly: “You’re worried about your money, and your clients are worried about their privacy. Crypto is beyond private. It’s a win-win.”

2. Security for clients

Katana touches on another key reason why blockchain technology is good for the sex industry: client confidentiality.

In many countries, there are still legal and/or social penalties against seeking the services of a sex professional. By utilizing blockchain technology, clients are able to securely hide payments to sex workers: a level of security that protects them against being targeted by law enforcement or being outed via their normal banking records.

The growing acceptance of cryptocurrency by the adult entertainment industry also speaks volumes about this desire for client anonymity. Just recently Playboy and Penthouse both announced that they will be accepting Vice Industry Tokens, which are hailed as both secure as well as offers users ways to earn more by watching certain adult videos.

Other entrepreneurs have also seen this need for sex worker and client safety and have been working on their own cryptocurrencies. Listing just two, there is Sexcoin and SpankChain (designed for webcam models), but more seem to be popping up all the time.

Unfortunately, the industry really hasn’t stabilized as of yet, what with new currencies appearing or falling by the wayside: a clear leader is not yet emerging.

But that one will more than likely appear would seem to be just a matter of time. After all, the demand—from sex workers as well as their clients—is clearly there.

Another big reason for the sex industry is looking to blockchain is also about safety, but in this case it is safety, not for the client or the sex workers, but from law enforcement.

3. Security against prosecution

With blockchain technology appointments and contact information can be kept totally secure and secret, meaning that the exchange is only visible to the parties involved.

While this could offer a layer of protection when the sex work is consensual, it does raise the troubling prospect of it being used by sex traffickers.

This is the major concern with the current anti-sex trafficking laws that have been passed, especially in the United States: that ill-thought out legislation designed to protect victims of non-consensual sex work has been harming those who are engaging in it of their own free will.

Drifting towards cynicism, laws such as these—especially when enforced by agencies who have a political or anti-sex work agenda—could do more to force consensual sex workers, as well as sex-traffickers, underground: setting off a blockchain arms race that law enforcement is not prepared to deal with.

4. Security to organize

Stepping out of this dark idea, blockchain also has a real potential to be sexually liberating. For many living in repressive countries, where open expressions of their sexuality is not tolerated, or even illegal, blockchain could be a tool for sex workers to connect with each other without alerting the authorities or sex traffickers.

There is also the possibility that networks like this could also be used politically: a way to organize and protect those who are working to decriminalize consensual sex work.

Safety for sex work

Sex is risky. Sex work is even more so. While blockchain technology and cryptocurrency might not be the perfect solution to the dangers involved in consensual sex work—especially as it has only just begun to be discussed as a possibility by those in the industry—that it offers at least some level of safety is worthy of pursuit.

Sex work might be the world’s oldest profession but with cutting-edge technologies like blockchain and cryptocurrency it could very well become a state of the art one and, best of all, a safe one for everyone involved.

Image sources: Ethereum Classic

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