Wild west crypto market birthing new 'sex coins'
Peddlers of cryptocurrency have come up with a bold plan - or at least a good way to make headlines - which they think would make selling sex legal in places where it is banned.
Lust, a new initial coin offering (ICO) developed stateside and launching this month, had claimed it would be able to circumvent laws around prostitution.
It was reportedly being launched with the intention of allowing people to pay for sex without using traditional cash.
Makers of the coin said they aim to create a “decentralised sex marketplace”, using crypto to hook up punters with prostitutes instead of hard cash.
“One of the principal ideas of our project is to take out middlemen or any third party from the sex industry and ensure that control is shifted back in the hands of people who earn from and pay for it,” the project’s description read.
“We aim to eradicate the undesirable effects for all parties involved in the sex industry.
“[Because] everybody needs sex, we created this vital tool to provide unstoppable reasonable services to anyone and anywhere in this world,” the almost unbelievable press release read.
However, it is likely that anyone selling sex on the site could be on shaky legal ground if any cryptocurrency in their possession was converted into actual currency.
In 2008, five women were arrested in Kentucky for selling sex in exchange for $100 in petrol vouchers, in a bartering deal that was busted by local police.
Cryptocurrency communities online were also wary of Lust, with ICOtracker giving the coin a ‘scum alert’ when the offering was first announced in October - better than a ‘scam alert’, but still not an ideal rating.
And blogger v4vapid wrote on Steemit four months ago that the coin was simply built on the existing Ethereum platform with some slick branding added to it, suggesting the coin’s creators could be using sex as a way to differentiate their ICO in a crowded and unregulated marketplace.
“Claims that a token has the ability to wipe away some of the most nefarious aspects of the industry is a lofty and admirable aim but perhaps it is equally unrealistic and naive,” v4vapid wrote.
Lust wasn’t necessarily breaking new ground either, with a recent initial coin offering from ‘sexService’ touting itself as a “blockchain-based friendly sex dating service”.
Broker Scott Ryder of CryptoGo.com said the interest in crypto sex coins has been large.
“There’s a number of coins that have entered the running which are solely focused on the sex industry.
“Mostly people are interested in the best known coins, but that said we've had some interest in sex related projects, there seems to be a market out there for it.
“Some wallets have age restrictions but others are completely free of rules.”
Meanwhile Cameron Bowen, editor of Coinlist.me, explained that there had been a sharp rise in sites that offer payment in return for pornography.
“We’ve seen a rise in search trends for ways to spend crypto on porn sites around the world - and from a research perspective the search trends are showing spikes.
“People are definitely perking up to the idea that they can use bitcoin and other digital currencies to pay for access to sex services, and as the market continues to define itself, it most certainly seems that there’s an appetite out there for it.”