[1] Why the adult industry?

Tudor Bold
Jan 9, 2019 · 6 min read

This article is the first in a short series about the adult industry and blockchain

Sexuality is a human right that lies at the core of our individual freedom and happiness. Our vision is that pornography should be arousing and empowering for both performers and consumers, it should be personal and personalized, authentic and diverse, democratic and progressive, liberating and unapologetic.

Our mission is to build a blockchain-enabled adult ecosystem that allows anyone, anywhere to contribute to, distribute, consume and benefit from adult content. We are working to leverage the power of the distributed ledger as well as smart contracts to power services in the adult industry. This is why we are building infrastructure on the Ethereum platform. But more on this, in our future writings.

The adult industry is a +100 billion-dollar industry waiting to be disrupted! Currently, the ecosystem is broken. In an ever-faster changing world, the porn industry is more and more centralized and outdated, with a diminishing connection between content producers and fans, little privacy for viewers, ridden by oligopolistic distributors and unfair revenue-sharing, etc.

People consume porn more than ever. Despite this, the official revenues have sunk, in part due to the ever larger quantities of free amateur productions available on the internet.

The way content producers monetize their productions is making it hard for someone without access to information from the tube sites to gauge the amount of money this type of content produces.

But the professional content producers are not standing idle in the face of this rush from free tube sites. They are searching for ways to offer personalized content, be it personal online video streaming from performers (cam sites), or specialized content from a very specific niche (the way kink.com does it). And the only way to face the deluge of free content of increasingly better quality made by amateur producers is to personalize the content for each consumer, offer higher value added experiences.

But let’s not forget that the adult industry is comprised of more than just porn productions. The adult live streaming industry (cam sites) have increased in popularity, having more than 150 million users worldwide, according to live cam services.

And there are also other related products and services, like sex toy makers, VR porn, dating etc.

We built Sharesome.com, an adult social platform, but if you’re here you probably already know this.

There are 3 main reasons for which we got involved in the adult industry:

Lack of reform

Being part of the Pornographic industry in the late 90s was very lucrative for models and is now known as the good old days of porn, the years of DVDs and contract girls made the industry a pure money-making industry full of glamour, smiles and bulging bank accounts. — Lianne Young

Main motto today that drives sites like PornHub, RedTube, xHamster or XNXX is “more views”. No matter what, just click more. — Jacob Michalak

In a Wired article published in 2015, Pornhub’s vice-president, Corey Price, argues that the adult industry is no longer the leader of technology, if it ever was. Because the big companies like Apple, Google and Facebook are the developers of the new technology and they shut porn out, the adult industry doesn’t even have access to new technology. From being a trendsetter in technology, the adult industry became the imitator. Pornhub markets itself as “the Netflix for porn” and all the tube sites closely mimicked Youtube.
Traffic on the adult websites is huge, with over 450 million hours of viewing per month, but it’s not even close to the traffic Netflix is generating, of over 3.3 billion hours a month.

But all this can change, and the adult industry can regain the spot at the forefront of technological development with the use of blockchain technology. This is one of the hottest new technologies to appear in the past 10 years and it has a perfect use-case for the adult industry: private, instant and cheap money transfers between people. If the industry can hope to regain the popular staple of being the driving force behind technological innovation, then this is the best way to achieve it.

The porn industry still thinks it can make money the old fashioned way. A lot of companies are still crying from the decline of DVD sales, when nobody buys DVDs anymore, everyone wants to stream the content on demand.

Looking at the rise of adult media distribution platforms, like YouPorn and PornHub, we can see there is a clear trend for users to consume video from a streaming source instead of buying content on physical format.

The livecam industry is a growing niche in the adult entertainment landscape but the pace of innovation in this area is rather slow. The websites that offer this kind of services are happy with the business model they developed, and because of their popularity they are not incentivised to innovate.

Porn is still very present in major areas like VR content, Robotics, Chatbots and haptic technology, but one thing that is hard to reform is the business side of this. And this takes us to the second point:

The shaming and blaming

Stakeholders in the adult industry have always been shamed and blamed. Consumers are still being shamed for what some people still consider immoral, while performers are blamed for promoting this lifestyle.

French President blames porn for discrimination

Furthermore, this industry has been blamed for truly immoral behaviors that have nothing to do with it. Despite what some people choose to believe, pornography is legal in most jurisdictions (e.g. Americas and Europe), content is produced by consensual adults, and entertainers are some of the most vocal activists for human rights.

Activist & Executive Director of the Free Speech Coalition

In the meantime, viewers’ privacy is lost. Pseudonymous performers are too often “doxxed” (aka private information is maliciously shared across the web), while consumers are extensively tracked and their private data (including consumption habits) is at risk of being shared publicly.

Many industry players report feeling monopolistic pressure from big businesses or the government. This opens up the door to…

The flow of money

“In America the number of porn studios is now down from over 200 to 20, says Alec Helmy, the founder of XBiz, a trade publication. Performers who used to make $1,500 an hour now get $500 — even as increased competition means they are asked to produce more extreme content.” — Alec Hemy, XBiz.

The standard now is for the actors to be paid fixed, small sums of money for each scene they are recording. Their pay could go up quite a lot, if they agree to shoot scenes they did not film before, but the royalties resulted from selling these productions are going to the studio that produced the content.

Sex workers have been shut out of the banking and payment processing services since forever. Although there are some hopeful initiatives, these are quite limited in scope.

Things are not so rosy for live performers either. In the video streaming market, the entertainers who do all the hard work often receive less than 50% of the money they generate. One of the top streaming site charges up to 60% from what the actors are generating on their platform. Other popular platforms take less than that, with MFC having the “generous policy” of taking only 40%. The site operators get a cut in order to pay for the operational costs, the studio gets a cut in order to pay for amenities and training and all the other facilities they provide. And let’s not forget about payment processors, because they take a cut too, sometimes up to 15%.

Blockchain has the power to profoundly disrupt all of these entrenched practices, as we will try to show in our next articles.

Sharesome

The first free adult social media platform

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