Sex is a driver of innovation
There is no doubt that blockchain technology will reinvent, transform or at the very least, influence every aspect of commerce. So, we have decided to launch a series of reports that highlight the effects blockchain will have on the world’s biggest industries.
We are going to start this series by focusing on the adult industry. Many people would argue that the blockchain and sex go hand in hand, based on the nature of both sectors. Consider anonymity, security and innovation.
It would seem that only a technology as versatile and robust as blockchain could address the sex industries issues of regulations, trust and privacy. Not to mention the highly extractive media companies that rule over the industry with an iron fist.
Commercial sex industry market size
Let’s take a look at the overall sex market. We will divide it into two segments, services (escort, shows, clubs, etc.) and products (porn, sex tech, toys, etc.). Both segments have specific problems and the potential for innovation. We will analyze these two segments more closely below. So, in total the commercial sex industry is estimated to be over $300 billion and has between 5-10% annual growth.
Escort services & prostitution
The service side of the adult industry has plenty of issues with organizing communications between parties, verifying identities and legitimate payments.
Tokenization of sex services and smart contracts for dating
Sex dating involves a considerable amount of scam services with fake accounts with unclear payment methods. The dating process becomes dangerous and frustrating. With the help of smart contracts, those problems can be solved. This allows the participants of the dating app to be protected against fictional personas, inappropriate messaging criminal acts.
SexService is a platform that does exactly that, providing blockchain based dating service. This allows clients and sex workers to connect without the dangers of the criminal organisations or extractive third parties.
The anonymity and pre-defined payment methods also create a better way of interacting and transacting for both parties. SexService is trying to implement security tokens, but this may cause legal issues — the legality of this technology is still very much a grey area in most nations.
Escort services payments in crypto
Some actors want to avoid problems with banks and remain anonymous. PinkDate has established itself for this very reason. Running and anonymously operating escort agency accepting fiat and a range of cryptocurrencies.
Nonetheless, it’s operating outside of the law and does not have any real need in blockchain, except for crypto payments. It’s had an ICO just for an alternative way of fundraising. In any case, businesses are starting to use crypto payments for sex services.
Decentralized prostitution marketplace
The decentralized market for sex services may become desirable in countries with strict regulations. There are several projects related to this field like Eros.vision (looks like a scam) and Lust. It is highly likely that countries with strict regulations will give rise to blockchain businesses wishing to operate outside of regulatory reach.
The primary sectorin the sex industry of course is porn. This market is estimated to be over $100 billion and is constantly growing. Some technical innovations are coming through VR, but the main media type is video content. Potential problems vary, from payments & extractive fees to market monopolization.
Using cryptocurrencies to prevent banking issues
Several of the biggest names in the porn industry claimed that the bank terminated their accounts or denied them banking services because they worked in the sex industry.
Bitcoin and other privacy-centric alternatives like Zcash and Monero offer a solution to this issue. Consider the group of researchers that recently used AI to track down the people behind online sex ads and map out their business dealings using the public blockchain. Payments in non-traceable crypto can help some actors to stay anonymous. There are some popular video genres like home porn and livecam whose authors will benefit most from this.
An example is the Livestars blockchain startup. They strive to create a platform eliminating the webcam industry problems like low anonymity, high fees and payments issues. Another attempt to make the industry more private has come from AirPorn. Unfortunately, they failed the ICO and are now issuing a refund.
We must draw your attention to the fact that there are some attempts to create a sex-specific token like SexCoin, Gay.money, Titcoin, Wankcoin and some more., but without proper infrastructure or products, it looks more like a joke.
Creating digital p2p marketplace to cut the intermediaries
Porn is full of intermediaries with high fees, up to 90% in some cases. The industry standard is 50% for cam shows and 20-30% for content networks.
To solve all of the these problems, there is a blockchain startup called Spankchain. Spankchain is made to lessen these fees: on its roadmap, there are security payments hub, ad networks, webcam sites with 5% fees and even a content marketplace. This company recently raised more than $7 million and is now listed on Coinmarketcap. We also have to take into account the positive impact the blockchain industry is having on porn as the industry starts adopting millions of new crypto users.
Health of sex-workers
There are significant issues with labor protection in the porn industry, especially in b-grade studios. Actors are forced not to use condoms, and there is no proper control over sexually transmitted diseases. The blockchain creates an immutable ledger of health cards for every actor. There is a bit of reflection on this topic on the Internet, but so far there are no real projects. A similar idea appeared at Consensus 2016 Hackathon, but still no working prototypes.
Private life (non-commercial use)
Except for commercial apps where the product or service provided are sold, blockchain can be used for personal sexual experiences. The health sex ledger, we talked about earlier, could also be used for private life.
Blockchain can also create smart contracts centered around consent. Some apps and services are already doing this, like Sasie.date, when you can confirm your consent through an app. But there is also a blockchain analogues, where we can eliminate the intermediary and securely store consent history, which is crucial in this case. LegalFling is the first one who did this on blockchain. The way to properly address these issues to the market still need to be found, but this has a great potential.
On the other hand, cryptocurrency hype can be used as a means of additional earnings for end users. Theodora, a well-known dominatrix, who earns an income from creating sexual experience for clients. Usually they choose to pay with gifts or donations. Recently she started using her admirers to mine cryptocurrency, they build mining farms and send her contributions in crypto. She also manages her own crypto portfolio, having learned the basics of investing from her high profile clients.
So far we can see only a few cases of using crypto, but it looks like it will eventually become mainstream.
SexTech includes remote sex, VR AI-based robots. As these sex devices become smarter, we will be able to consider this area as an Internet of Things (IoT) or in this case – Sexnet of Things. Connected sex toys and telemetric devices will be controlled via smart protocols and interact with each other creating the new economy of sex robots. Payments and services delivery will be handled by smart contracts.
As an example, we can look BitCast, the interactive platform that allows you to pair your interactive sex toys with the performance of leading cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin. Once connected, the real-time price of your currency will dictate the intensity of your toys’ vibrations.The higher the price, the stronger the sensation – and vice versa. BitCast supports both female and male toys.This could be an example of a viral project that spearheads a new niche of sex tech innovation.
Future of sex
The ordinary blockchain usage in p2p relationships, which were discussed above, are somewhat similar for businesses in most industries. The following examples are sex-specific use-cases that will radically change our sex life:
- Sexual encounter verification by wearable/built-in devices following smart contract initialization.
- Tokenization of pleasure. When human body augmentation becomes popular our body could be presented as a digital asset that can be distributed.
- History of Sexual encounters. This requires greater blockchain adoption.
There are plenty of blockchain usage yet to come in the future.
When the words blockchain and ICO meet literally on every corner, it is no surprise that the sex industry will tokenize as many services as possible. Due to the nature of the industry and oppressive regulations, the sex industry is likely to have even more scams than we saw in the overall ICO market. Nonetheless, this remains an industry in hot demand, with real problems that need to be tackled.
The main challenge that blockchain disruptors faced in sex industry is the lack of trust. Companies are struggling to create a community around their products, but as the crypto-awareness will grow blockchain will become widely used in the industry as well.
What are your thoughts on this? How else can the Blockchain disrupt this industry?
Please drop us a line with your ideas.
Stay up to date with our new series of industry reports.