By Nathan Smale, Chief Operations Officer – intimate
There is so much noise about cryptocurrency, blockchain, bitcoin and blah blah blah. Over the next four editions of the EROS journal, we are going to look at how cryptocurrency relates to the adult industry: What is blockchain, how you can make money with it, what else it can do and what the future holds. This four part series is not intended to be a deep technical analysis of an emerging technology, it is designed to be a practical guide to understanding an incredibly complex topic with just enough detail to enhance your existing business.
Why is this important?
Traditionally all of us in adult have had a horror time with banking at some point in our careers, from difficulty or outright refusal to open accounts with mainstream financial institutions and payment gateways; ridiculously high fees; chargebacks; or perhaps the most frustrating, freezing of operational accounts without warning!
First and foremost, cryptocurrencies allow you to transact directly from one party to the other without a centralised intermediary (i.e. a bank). This direct relationship is great because you don’t have to worry that the bank is going to shut you down for being in adult and there is no organisation to deem you ‘high risk’. Secondly, cryptocurrency is a push transaction rather than a pull transaction, users send you the funds directly rather than a bank or payment provider taking them from a credit card, because of this there is nobody to call and complain to and there are NO CHARGEBACKS EVER.
Cryptocurrencies aren’t able to be used everywhere (yet), so you will still need support to convert your cryptocurrencies back into your local currency and back again. For this, you will likely need to complete an AML/KYC checking process but it does not have the personalised judgment and bias that the current banking system does, and once you are in, you are free to transact.
It’s true that there is a lot to learn when you are first getting started with crypto, but remember, don’t get too overwhelmed with the technical stuff. You don’t have to understand everything in order to see value. Many of the systems we use today are great examples of this – such as telephony, banking and the internet – you just accept that they work and enjoy the benefits.
Why should you care about blockchain?
You shouldn’t really. Most people don’t care about the TCP/IP protocols that are the foundation of how the internet actually works. You accept that it does work and you use it to make money for your adult empire or just for your pleasure. The reality is, that this should be your approach to blockchain as well. The first part of this article should be more than enough for most.
What is blockchain?
By now, you have no doubt heard a great deal about blockchain technology though you might not recognise that term. Blockchain is the technology that underpins cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin which was the first cryptocurrency and its younger sibling, Ethereum. There has been a lot of debate about cryptocurrency and whilst there are reams of information on this topic, it is often very difficult to know exactly what information to believe. To make things easier, this article will not touch on value or investment at all, but it will focus on providing a brief overview of the technology and its use case specifically in relation to adult. This technology is going to change the world, you don’t need to like it but it is important that you get to know how it can work for you.
As a simple description, blockchain is a shared ‘database’ of information that operates by adding one block of information to the end of the last one, creating a chain of information. Everyone in the community agrees to the validity of the information before adding another block, and once a new block has been added, nobody can go back and edit any of the previous blocks. This information is both public and encrypted. So even though all the transactions are public, the information can only be decrypted by the person who holds the private key (i.e. password) to the relevant data.
Cryptocurrency is the system by which these blockchains are represented as a finite number of coins, or otherwise known as tokens. Due to the finite supply, it allows people to place a value on these tokens and trade them with other people who also agree on their value. This is similar to when people first found shiny objects and decided to barter with other people for food, or when institutions first printed denominations of value onto pieces of paper, informed the masses that it had value and called it ‘money’. If enough people believe in your system of trade, then it is valuable and functional. There are many, many technical papers arguing the pros and cons of cryptocurrency in this manner, this article is not intended to cover that topic. Whilst many people are thinking about cryptocurrency as a store of value (and the news is reporting the price of Bitcoin alongside the stock market), cryptocurrency can also serve a purpose as a unit of trade.
Where has this come from? Over the last nine years since Bitcoin was invented, it has been driven by technical people who fell in love with the technology and slightly anarchistic people who don’t like any group having too much power because they feel power is often misused to serve self interest. Purists often see blockchain as the decentralisation of information, power and money from the few to the many. Now with so much media attention the entire world has heard of crypto and everyone, especially the Uber driver, has an opinion on it. This scenario suggests that crypto is not going away anytime soon.
That is a broad overview of blockchain and cryptocurrencies, and more importantly, how it can solve some of the banking issues we all face. This will be covered in more detail in subsequent issues. In part 2, we will look at how you can make money in the adult industry with cryptocurrency.