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NFTs and Sex Workers

NFTs and crypto can allow sex workers to keep their financial freedom by freezing the account by the bank. Here are some examples of crypto or NFT projects.

knack ·  · 07/04/22 ·  4 min

Sex workers face rough conditions in their trade. Platforms take a large percentage of their earnings. Wide-spread, legalized institutional discrimination also interferes with their ability to earn a living. As a result, sex workers have turned to crypto as a safe, reliable form of payment.

And while there is a significant learning curve involved, what they learn transfers well to non-fungible tokens. Through NFTs, sex workers can sell their wares in the form of personalized videos, images, and physical objects. Sex worker-friendly projects have already proliferated, as we’ll soon see. Assume all links in this article may not be safe for work.

Sex Work: Pumping Innovation Onward

The United States military invented the internet, but porn keeps the innovation pounding forward. Internet cash transactions became common in order for individuals to purchase content remotely and with (some) anonymity and privacy. The demand for streaming video led to many efforts that increased bandwidth. And teledildonics, well, it is what it sounds like. So it’s no surprise that the sex industry has begun to play with crypto and NFTs. 

From FOSTA and SESTA to PornHub and OnlyFans

The Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) and the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) were signed into law in 2019 by President Trump. Their stated purpose? To fight sex trafficking. Both acts hold third-parties responsible for posting ads for prostitution, legal or otherwise. In effect, they ended personal advertisements on Backpage and Craiglists. 

The same laws, again deployed as a sword rather than a shield, led PornHub to begin accepting crypto as the only source of payment in December of 2020. Around this time, Visa and Mastercard pulled support from Pornhub after a New York Times article reported non-consenual, underage sexual content on the website. Yet these companies refused to acknowledge the damage their policies would do to legitimate entertainers posting consensual content in order to earn a living.

The folks at OnlyFans have experienced similar issues as the sword of FOSTA and SESTA looms over their platform as well. While credit cards remain an accepted form of payment there, and crypto’s yet-to-be accepted, the sword could drop at any time. Such is life in the sex industry when the slow feet and puritanical minds of the law catch up. Perhaps professionals on OnlyFans have reason to hope crypto will soon be accepted. In February of 2022, entertainers on the platform could begin using NFTs hosted on Ethereum as profile pictures. Thank you, Twitter, for inspiring the porn world.

Sex Workers’ Financial and Physical Safety

What about individual sex workers? 

Banks, credit card companies, and payment vendors hide behind FOSTA and SESTA to discriminate against human beings using their own bodies as a means to pay their bills. While FOSTA and SESTA aimed to target traffickers and protect innocents, institutions use the law to censor and disenfranchise. Nevermind sex workers’ First Amendment rights to express themselves freely and without doing harm. In this hostile legal environment, crypto is a lifeline for sex workers.

Physical

Strictures imposed by traditional payment vendors can result in real-life crises for sex professionals. For example, if a gentleman of the evening finds his bank account has been closed suddenly due to institutional paranoia about adults getting paid for sex, then he may less carefully vet in-person clients. Desperation could turn dangerous fast because the sex worker can expect little support from law enforcement or other community resources.

Financial

Unlike traditional institutions, crypto prevents chargebacks. Sometimes a client will chargeback a transaction months later and the sex worker can do nothing about it. To say this is a power imbalance in the workplace would be an understatement. Imagine your boss at the Orange Store deciding “Nah, I don’t want to pay that guy” months after you received your paycheck for flogging laptops to yuppies. You would be stuck with the bill when the boss initiates the chargeback. Chargebacks aren’t possible via crypto, and that includes the sale of non-fungible tokens.

In 2016, Vice reported that traditional platforms that act as middlemen for sex professionals routinely take 10 to 14% cut. Content marketplaces take 30% commission or more. Squeezed from all sides, it only makes sense for sex workers to explore a new financial model that favors individual liberty. And has an employer or bank ever paid you royalties? Well, me either. This is another reason for sex workers to dig into NFTs after learning the crypto ropes.

Give the People What They Want

Even if the socks have already been worn. When a performer creates a custom video, image, or other content for a client, they’ll only get paid for it once if they accept compensation via, say, credit card. Or crumpled bills in a back alley. What’s worse, they’ll receive zero royalties when the content is re-sold, repackaged, and reuploaded to another platform.

Enter marketplaces like SpankChain and NASFTY. The same video of a performer wearing a George W. Bush mask and little else will always be traceable back to the originating performer-creator thanks to the public ledger that is the blockchain. And if royalties are written into the smart contract of the NFT, then the performer will receive royalties when the NFT is resold. 

SpankChain

spankbank
The SpankChain tokenomics

SpankChain aims to deliver a decentralized adult social network built on Ethereum that resolves the issues sex workers face. Experts in crypto, software engineering, and the sex industry have built the product. The team and the infrastructure they’ve built differentiate SpankChain from less authentic projects.

Performers benefit from low transaction fees and the fact that SpankPay, one of SpankChain’s products, is USD friendly. In addition to live video, a cut of ads, and items sold on the content marketplace, performers can receive payment if they participate in Spank Pop Shots. Pop Shots (NSFW) are NFTs sold in a pack of 4. Each NFT features top models and is one-of-a-kind with a distinct serial number. Your humble author explored what sort of performers are accepted for Pop Shots. The Google Form didn’t inquire as to my experience, gender, age, or sexuality, yet content displayed on the site and Opensea indicate that the audience for these NFT packs is strictly heterosexual men.

NASFTY

NASFTY provides an Ethereum-based content marketplace for adult entertainers. There are plenty of cryptopunks-inspired images. And there’s also more conventional pornographic content. As on SpankChain, most of the content aims for the male heterosexual audience, though we admit in both cases there could be a trend toward a more diverse range of creators. All a creator needs to begin on NASFTY is own a MetaMask wallet. The creator will then complete age verification and set up their profile on the website.

The Porn Future is Crypto-NFT

Crypto and NFT solve many problems in the adult industry. From legal and institutional discrimination, to imbalances on platforms that skew away from individual performers and their labor, crypto and NFTs can reset the playing field. And more equity might lead to more innovation, an area in which the porn industry has stagnated in recent years.

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