It’s not often the adult entertainment industry is recognized as a primary driving force for technological advancement. However, pornography and adult entertainment have been deeply entwined with the latest technology long before the celebrated rise of Silicon Valley; in fact, it is difficult to think of any technological breakthrough that has not been shaped by the fundamental human desire to consume sex. The printing press, the VCR, the instant camera, the Internet — all have pornography to thank for their proliferation and mass adoption. And now, the many potential applications of blockchain and distributed systems poise for us yet another pivotal technological development. With SpankChain, the adult entertainment industry will benefit from a whole new suite of services that are supported by blockchain.
To fully understand the history of how the sex industry has driven technology, let’s examine some historic examples. In 1895, the first public screening of a film occurred. According to Jonathan Coopersmith, a professor at Texas A&M University, less than two years later, the first “adult” film was released — long before films gained widespread notoriety and mass appeal. Online payments became widely adopted for e-commerce after pornography sites demonstrated early that people are willing to make transactions online. Again and again, we have seen pornography companies capitalize early on new technologies before they have found more mainstream applications.
“Pornographers have been the most inventive and resourceful users of whatever medium comes along because they and their audience have always wanted innovations,” says Walter Kendrick, author of The Secret Museum: Pornography in Modern Culture. “Pornographers are excluded from the mainstream channels, so they look around for something new, and the audience has a desire to try any innovation that gives them greater realism or immediacy.”
The Consumer Demand for Privacy
The consumer desire for privacy is evident in the adult entertainment market. In fact, it’s driven the adoption of many new practices in the industry. Today, the grand stigma associated with pornography continues to lead consumers to make specific decisions to better protect their identities. A good historical example of this desire for privacy is shown through the early rise of the VCR. In fact, the VCR was released, but really gained an audience once its potential for pornography consumption became apparent. In 1978, fewer than 1% of American homes contained VCRs, and the major movie studios were still hesitant to produce content for the new medium. During this time, when the VCR was in its nascent stage, more than 75% of the videocassettes that were sold were pornographic. The ability to watch pornography in one’s own home instead of a seedy theater, created a market for home VCRs, and, pretty soon, they became a must-have household product. Similarly, there are many other examples, such as Polaroid cameras, which allowed scandalous images to be taken and distributed without the awkwardness of getting the film developed in public.
As the modern Ashley Madison hack has shown, today there still needs to be a higher standard for security with sensitive private information. Now, the industry started to bitcoin which has enabled anonymous transactions benefiting consumers. However, there has still been concerns surrounding its inability to support recurring payments for billing, due to it’s one-time transactional nature. This was at odds with the subscription-model of most sites. Today this has changed with SpankChain, a cryptoeconomic powered adult entertainment ecosystem built on the Ethereum network. This not only allows for recurring transactions, but also enables foundational functionalities necessary to operate a streaming or static content distribution application, such as a user profile system and payment capabilities.
At the end of the day, the industry has evolved in a never ending chase for the next big thing. When the internet took off, pornographers benefited dramatically and drove the first wave of e-commerce. Organized content platforms made adult entertainment content easier to consume, and increased bandwidth allowed for higher-quality content. However, as content moved towards teasers and then to basically free, the industry started relying heavily on advertising. Now, technologists are experimenting with VR and remote controlled technologies. Interestingly, 3rd party payment providers prospered as traditional payment providers like Visa, MasterCard and American Express refused to support the adult entertainment industry.
SpankChain addresses this by offering a blockchain based ecosystem for the adult entertainment industry.
The first set of features, such as user profiles and payments, will enable core capabilities that are critical for content platforms. These platforms can then benefit from additional services and functionality such as payment channel hubs, age verification, live video, an ad network, an affiliate network, search, and an interface builder. We see this as a natural extension and evolution of the industry’s economic drivers and consumers’ desires for better, more secure services.