In brief

  • The New York Times says it uncovered videos of rape and child abuse on Pornhub.
  • Visa and Mastercard have stopped processing payments to the adult website.
  • Pornhub, which began accepting Bitcoin in September, previously used crypto to weather the departure of PayPal.

In the wake of a New York Times investigation that uncovered alleged videos of rape and child abuse on Pornhub, credit card companies Mastercard and Visa announced today they will no longer process payments for the adult website.

But Bitcoin remains an option—albeit a little-advertised one—for Pornhub, which has previously leveraged crypto to manage the fallout with payments company PayPal.

The site began accepting Bitcoin and Litecoin for its premium subscription service in September; it had already started accepting Verge (a Dogecoin fork) in April 2018.


It also allows webcam models and other entertainers who upload to the site to receive payouts in Tether or Tron. Alternatively, they can sign up for direct deposit through their bank or use Cosmo Payment. What they can’t do is use PayPal—it stopped accepting payments from the platform in November 2019.

According to Pornhub's blog, PayPal's departure precipitated the move to USDT stablecoin.

Mastercard said the move to disable payments for the Pornhub Premium subscription is permanent; Visa’s move is temporary pending the results of its own investigation.

The loss of payment methods may sting Pornhub as it looks to both maintain income and shore up consumers' and regulators' confidence in its product.

Although it ostensibly welcomes BTC, LTC, and XVG payments, it hasn’t made the process seamless.


For one thing, its crypto page hasn’t been updated with the Bitcoin and Litecoin additions. A button reading “Join Pornhub Premium with Verge” leads to the standard payment page, where users must still enter a credit card to sign up. 

With Visa and Mastercard out of the picture, that leaves Discover and JCB (Japan Credit Bureau) as remaining credit card options.

(Pornhub's support page, which deals with technical and billing issues, noted it's "receiving a high influx of inquiries"; Decrypt was unable to confirm questions about payment methods.) 

But Pornhub has more serious legal and ethical problems to deal with. It says it’s working to resolve the issues that led to Visa and Mastercard’s departures. 

On December 8, it updated its terms of service and issued a statement that read, in part: “We have always been committed to eliminating illegal content, including non-consensual material and child sexual abuse material (CSAM).”

To clamp down, it said it “will only allow properly identified users to upload content” and that it had expanded its moderation and flagging processes.

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