In brief

  • Venture capitalist Paul Graham says “picky” credit card firms could boost crypto usage.
  • His tweet comes after Visa and Mastercard said they’d no longer process payments for Pornhub.
  • Graham is the co-founder of startup accelerator Y Combinator and has a large social media following.

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

Today, venture capitalist Paul Graham—co-founder of leading startup accelerator Y Combinator—tweeted out a take that seems to be tied to the news, suggesting that credit card companies making such decisions could ultimately be a boon to the cryptocurrency industry.

“Possible future scenario: Credit card companies become increasingly picky about who they'll process transactions for, and this becomes the thing that tips the general public into using cryptocurrency in transactions, ultimately killing credit cards,” he tweeted.


Graham posits that credit card companies declining to process transactions for certain businesses will cause more people to turn to cryptocurrencies, which are censorship-resistant, require no accompanying personal data, and can be difficult to trace. However, his tweet does not specifically reference yesterday’s news.

The author and entrepreneur commands a large audience on Twitter, with more than 1.2 million followers, and the tweet has already generated thousands of interactions after just a couple of hours.

Even Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian dropped a reply, suggesting that Bitcoin shopping rewards app Lolli (similar to Fold) will help spur crypto adoption. Reddit was a part of Y Combinator’s first-ever startup class, and Ohanian himself is a former Y Combinator partner.

Visa and Mastercard followed the lead of PayPal in denying service to Pornhub; PayPal did so in November 2019. Pornhub currently accepts Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Verge for its premium subscription service, and allows webcam models and entertainers to accept payments in Tether or Tron. The site’s remaining accepted credit cards are Discover and JCB (Japan Credit Bureau).


Pornhub has said that it is working to clamp down on the posting of illegal content, including only allowing “properly identified users” to post content and expanding its moderation and flagging processes. “We have always been committed to eliminating illegal content, including non-consensual material and child sexual abuse material (CSAM),” the site said, in a statement.

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