In brief

  • Mastercard and Visa cut off Pornhub, declining payments from customers who wanted to subscribe to its premium adult entertainment.
  • The move came in response to a searing New York Times story that showed instances of children engaged in sex and women being assaulted in videos on the site.
  • Pornhub changed its policies to clamp down on abuse, and today said it was accepting crypto only as its default payment.

It appears that Pornhub, the world's largest adult website, is only accepting crypto for its premium service. The move was noticed on the site today after Visa and Mastercard cut off payments to the website last week.

The big credit card companies cut off the Canada-based porn platform after a New York Times article detailed instances of the website permitting uploads of videos depicting minors having sex, and women being assaulted.

Pornhub logo White 600

Visa and Mastercard's decision is the latest and most impactful instance of a payment processor blocking funds to Pornhub or its performers. In November 2019, PayPal began blocking payments to Pornhub performers.

Soon after, Pornhub began accepting the Verge (XVG), Tron (TRX), and Tether (USDT). Now, Pornhub also accepts Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Dash (DASH), Ethereum (ETH), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Litecoin (LTC), Monero (XMR), NEM (XEM), Tether (USDT), Tron (TRX), Verge (XVG), ZCash (ZEC), and Waves (WAVES).

33pornhubs premium services now defaults to crypto payments 13 digital assets supported
Pornhub's site today said it would only accept crypto.

The perils of Pornhub

Pornhub traffic saw a considerable increase since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Traffic reached 3.6 billion in August of 2020, according to the tracking website SimilarWeb.com.

Pornhub did not respond to Decrypt for comment.

"It's unfortunate that Visa and Mastercard are playing these sort of legal games to hold Pornhub accountable,” said Allie Eve Knox, an adult performer and cryptocurrency veteran, who noted however that it was no secret that the platform was operating in a dubious way: “Performers have for a long time been saying that Pornhub needs to be accountable and follow the law."

Allie Knox

Who's really getting hurt?

Nonetheless, she said that the move by the big credit card companies would hurt more than Pornhub. If performers “are not able to take Visa and Mastercard, performers are not making their money, which is problematic because a lot of people use it as their main income source." She added: “it hurts the content creators because that is where the money was going."

Pornhub’s business likely depends heavily on advertising revenue, which won’t be impacted by the move by the credit card companies.

Founded in 2005, Pornhub.com is a subsidiary of Luxembourg-based MindGeek, an IT platform for streaming entertainment companies. In a blog post published on the heels of the New York Times story last week, Pornhub announced a series of changes to clean up it site, including only allowing uploads only from verified content creators, banning downloads, and expanding moderation on the site.

In another post, however, the adult-entertainment provider (Pornhub, that is) said it’s being unfairly picked on for being a porn site. "It is clear that Pornhub is being targeted not because of our policies and how we compare to our peers, but because we are an adult content platform." The post went on to say, "These are the same forces that have spent 50 years demonizing Playboy, the National Endowment for the Arts, sex education, LGBTQ rights, women's rights, and even the American Library Association. Today, it happens to be Pornhub."