Often cited as the most fundamental invention in the recent era of computer science, blockchain paves a bright future for the world economy. I’ve previously written about these unparalleled disruptions in credit, banking, finance and governance and I believe a true revolution is underway.
Meanwhile, one of the hottest -- and most polarizing -- multibillion dollar industries has remained stagnant. It’s been left behind from virtually every financial advancement since the 1990’s.
Normally, a space like this would leave startups clawing for disruption as opportunistic entrepreneurs seek to capitalize on every tiny inefficiency that exists, yet, these development have not occurred.
I’m talking, of course, about the adult industry.
The space accounts for more than 30% of overall web traffic, exceeds $100 billion in global economic activity, and more than 75% of men and women partake monthly.
Researchers, writers, and entrepreneurs are quick to paint the adult sector as sort of “rogue” industry, rather than consider the serious financial and economic scale that it actually has. This has lead to flagrant abuses of rights for those in the industry.
The shocking reality is that an entire $100B entertainment industry has faced direct discrimination from banks, payment processors, and financial institutions. In 2014, JPMorgan Chase closed the bank accounts of several high profile stars and their families without clear justification. To avoid getting caught up in grey areas, Visa and Mastercard rarely process payments for the industry. And even Paypal frequently closes accounts and seizes funds of performers.
This level of financial discrimination and censorship would generally be flagged by human interest watch groups. Yet, these abuses have persisted despite the FDIC declaring it unconstitutional and in violation of the First Amendment.
Middlemen have entered the space, extracting exorbitant fees due to a lack of competition. Adult sites take between a 30-50% cut of performer earnings, and content marketplaces take a 40% cut or more. The problem isn’t getting better, it’s getting worse.
The Solution the Space Needs
After careful consideration, I’ve found only one viable project tackling these issues, SpankChain.
With a comedic appeal on the outside, SpankChain brings much needed technology to the adult industry. Privacy, security, self-sovereign identity, and economic efficiency are core pillars of the SpankChain infrastructure.
It’s more than just another adult site, the technology provides an underlying infrastructure layer that removes sizable barriers and inefficiencies in the space today.
If you look past the tongue-in-cheek messaging, there lies a powerful application layer that offers a suite of protocol level developments for the industry to overcome the artificial barriers imposed over the last decade. Payment channel hubs allow users to process payments for a fraction of the cost of traditional payment processors. Age verification systems allow sites to comply with all age verification laws in their respective jurisdictions. The company is developing a revolutionary video streaming infrastructure supporting a range of mobile devices.
Businesses built on their infrastructure can leverage their SDK to seamlessly create revolutionary products.
The team and product is strong and the community is taking notice. The founder, Ameen Soleimani, worked as a software engineer at ConsenSys for almost a year before leaving to start SpankChain. Joe Urgo, Co-founder at district0x, is advising the product on their marketplace activities through his firm, Sourcerers. Steven McKie, a crypto veteran of 5 years, and previous Head of Growth and Product Content at Purse serves as an advisor. Janice Griffith, a model, adult performer, and sex positivity activist serves as their head of PR.
Despite the flagrant abuse, lack of financial innovation, and years of being viewed as a rogue industry, developments are finally on the horizon. SpankChain may be the first project to create a global scale adoption of Blockchain technology where it’s critically needed.