In brief

  • Pornhub and Stripchat have seen a 25% increase in traffic since the coronavirus lockdown started.
  • Crypto payments are on the rise on several adult platforms.
  • Some performers only see Bitcoin as suitable for tipping.

With the world in lockdown, the porn industry has witnessed a huge surge in traffic. Both Stripchat and Pornhub have seen traffic in the US rise by 25%, with Stripchat noting a threefold surge in daily sign-ups in coronavirus-hit areas, such as Italy. Pornstars, such as Brenna Sparks, have seen big increases in their number of subscribers. Business is booming.

But in meatspace, adult performers are struggling. Social distancing requirements make it harder for them to work. Many are going online to make a living—but it’s harder to get paid when they’re not using cash, with banks regularly closing down accounts. Many performers are turning to Bitcoin and cryptocurrency payments to survive the pandemic.

“Crypto payments are up 59% since March 1,” a Stripchat spokesperson told Decrypt.

Adult streaming platform SpankChain has seen a similar rise in cryptocurrency use. SpankPay, the company's crypto payment processor, allows models to accept a variety of crypto, including Bitcoin and Ethereum.

"We saw a 40% increase in the number of payments through SpankPay for erotic media last month," said SpankChain CEO Ameen Soleimani. 

"The cam models and clip artists are largely doing OK, but many sex workers offering physical services (strippers, etc...) who were the most impacted are now going digital and offering content and companionship through online platforms," he said.

Pornstar Brenna Sparks agreed. She said that, while she is happy to use the US dollar, it’s not always the best option.

"When it comes to online models, the story is a bit different. Many of the models live in areas with an unstable currency, so accepting Bitcoin is an extremely important preventative measure they can take today to defend themselves from the inevitable—the collapse of their country's currency."

More Bitcoin adoption yet to come

“Iconic3ileen,” a model in the top 3% of creators on Only Fans, told Decrypt that business was "booming" during quarantine. However, when asked about crypto payments, she explained that they weren't practical enough to live off. 

I would accept crypto as a form of tip," she says, "but for actual content purchases, I'd rather use currency until I can pay bills and buy groceries with cryptocurrency."

While Chaturbate noted a modest uptick in new users, it didn’t see a particular increase in Bitcoin payments on the site.

But with Bitcoin mining porn now a thing, it might see Bitcoin adoption, just in another way.