SpankChain’s Post-SESTA Future
On March 21, Congress passed the hotly contested Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017 (SESTA), an act intended to curb online sex trafficking.
With a name like that, it’s difficult to see any downside–that is, if the bill did what it was intended to do. However, under the guise of working to hold internet platforms/services that host user-generated content liable for their alleged facilitation of sex trafficking — it directly affects consensual workers of all kinds. Most platforms would rather not risk investigation and would sooner remove other kinds of sexual content. This includes but is not limited to profiles of workers like cam models, nude photos, and literotica. Previously, these sites were immune to liability based on their user-generated content under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a longstanding cornerstone of internet law.
SpankChain firmly opposes forced labor or any illegal content — sexual or otherwise — created without the consent and autonomy of all parties involved. Although we oppose SESTA, we do want to stop the involuntary trade of peoples, forced sexual labor, and we support holding those involved in these crimes accountable.
SpankChain has been proactive in our efforts to keep free speech free. CoinDesk journalist Leigh Cuen has detailed how SESTA will affect the crypto space extensively prior to the passing of the bill, with quotes from one of our co-founders and our legal counsel.
In the long run, SESTA (also known as FOSTA/SESTA) stands to fuck everyone over by limiting freedom of speech online. The Communications Decency Act allows online communities to flourish; any platform that hosts user generated content exists solely due to the protections provided by Section 230. A long list of organizations ranging from advocacy groups to government officials have opposed the bill’s various forms: women’s rights organizations CHANGE and IWHC, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, members of the U.S. Advisory Council on Trafficking, Centers for Democracy and Technology, the ACLU, and the Department of Justice just to name a few.
Theoretically, any online forum or content platform will now be susceptible to legal action if any of the content available could be misconstrued as the promotion of illegal sexual activity. Other topics or acts that could open investigation include discussing paying for escorts with crypto, cam workers offering in person meet-ups — basically anything that involves some kind of sex work. SESTA opens up Pandora’s box. Many services have already started preemptively censoring adult content–Reddit has closed multiple sex work-related subreddits and Google Drive is locking down or deleting files of adult content. Tragically, Craigslist’s entire personals section is also gone for good.
All that’s left for SESTA to become law is a stroke of Trump’s pen. There are only three days left (April 2, 2018) for him to make the decision to sign the bill, and after that it would become law as early as 90 days from now.
How Will This Affect the SpankChain Community?
To ensure the safety of the SpankChain community and our mission to provide fair payment to adult performers, we’re planning to implement a no-tolerance policy on discussions of sexual soliciting or illegal activity of any kind on our cam site. SPANK token holders, whether performers or viewers, require the continuation of the overall SpankChain ecosystem, which won’t exist if we leave ourselves vulnerable to litigation by failing to provide oversight on our platform.
If we don’t take further action to reorganize our future community strategy in a post-SESTA world, any gains we have made in empowering individual adult industry professionals and entrepreneurs will be lost. Adult content creators will be forced to resort to traditional third party payment intermediaries, plunging themselves back into payment insecurity. SpankChain remains committed to decentralized technology and sex work empowerment on a larger scale, but decentralization does not mean utter lack of regulation. Therefore, we seek to strengthen and protect our community by using cryptoeconomic tools to self-regulate our overall ecosystem.
In the future, as the SpankChain user community grows and the potential for risk grows onsite through discussions in cam rooms, we hope to implement viewer-regulated moderation via blockchain technology. One possible mechanism would be a token-curated registry (TCR) schema that would allow viewers to place an initial BOOTY deposit to receive a license to engage in chat globally across the cam site, creating a list of verified chat users.
Whistle-blowers would be able to report when users violate cam room terms, placing the suspected violating party up for SPANK-mediated vote. If the user is found to have engaged in unscrupulous behavior, then their license would be revoked. The user’s BOOTY deposit would then be forfeited from their SpankCard and awarded to the whistleblower and voting parties. In the long run, we would achieve a continuously updated global registry of verified and law-abiding SpankChain users, which would help us protect the SpankChain community from baseless accusation.
As it stands, SpankChain’s cam site will already implement a novel verification game, Proof-of-Spank, allowing SPANK token holders to age-verify performers via a token vote. For performers, we plan to let them set additional rules for viewers in their rooms enforced by BOOTY deposit. Through iterating on blockchain-based technologies to develop new solutions within our ecosystem, we seek to keep SpankChain free of illicit activity. In doing this we will stay on track to achieve our ultimate goal of providing scalable economic infrastructure for the adult entertainment industry.
We continue to stand in solidarity for the empowerment and rights of adult industry professionals. For all SPANK token holders, we’re committed to ensuring our ecosystem is unaffected by legislative changes, and for performers, to ensuring you’re able to be paid fairly and efficiently for your work.
Survivors of sex trafficking and consensual workers alike have come together to educate the masses and illustrate their struggles and the serious issues that irresponsible lawmaking creates. There are resources for educating yourself on what sex work entails, who is most at risk, what you can do to help marginalized workers, and keep people safe.