When Porn.com began accepting bitcoin for payments on 3rd January, it set off a wave of speculation that adult content would prove to be the ‘killer app’ that propelled mainstream adoption of the still nascent technology.

Driving this conversation were the impressive sales figures the site released in the aftermath of the announcement. Porn.com suggested that purchases had increased by 50% in the initial hours, before settling at 25% in the days that followed.

Despite the spike in business Porn.com received, though, sceptics have argued that accepting bitcoin has become nothing more than a “publicity stunt” for companies seeking to gain media attention.

Porn.com’s latest figures, however, provide evidence that refutes this claim.

David Kay, marketing director for Porn.com’s parent company, Sagan Ltd, spoke to CoinDesk about his company’s progress so far, and noted that after one month, bitcoin purchases have “stabilized at 10%” of its sales.

Kay said that having a payment method that appeals to its customer base is key to delivering quality content, and that bitcoin satisfies this need. He explained:

“I think surfers like the anonymity of purchasing a premium membership with bitcoin. They don’t have to worry about what shows up on their credit card statement.”

Naughty America, which also began accepting bitcoin this January, declined to provide current figures for its bitcoin sales, noting that it is currently experimenting with different pricing options based on reddit feedback.

Minimal risk

Initially not everyone at Porn.com was convinced that accepting bitcoin was the right move, although Kay’s latest comments suggest that the internal environment has since changed:

“There was a big debate around the office whether or not we should embrace something so new and volatile, but after finding out we could transfer the bitcoins almost instantly to cash, the risk seemed minimal.”

However, bitcoin is slowly becoming a bigger part of Porn.com operations. The site now keeps some bitcoin on its books for payments and acquisitions, and has even purchased a competitor who requested to be paid in BTC. (Kay declined to comment further, but did confirm the purchase.)

In addition, the company now offers live performers and affiliates the ability to accept bitcoins.

Big spenders

Porn.com has revealed that the United States has thus far accounted for the most bitcoin payments, with the United Kingdom and Canada rounding out the top three.

The findings are consistent with data from porn company Naughty America, which had previously expressed an interest in bitcoin’s potential to reach foreign markets.

As shown in the chart below, more than half of Naughty America’s sales have originated in North America:

 

Broken down by country, Germany, the Netherlands and Australia also had notable showings, accounting for 8.8%, 4.4% and 3.5% of sales, respectively.

Room for improvement

One of the more notable comments from Naughty America founder Andreas Hronopoulos, following his company’s decision to accept bitcoin, was his belief that adoption of the cryptocurrency would spread throughout the porn industry over the next two months.

Kay is less certain that bitcoin will spread so easily in the ecosystem.

“It will take time, because so much of the business is reliant on recurring subscriptions. Once that obstacle [is cleared], it will become widespread.”

A representative from popular San Francisco-based fetish website Kink.com suggested that his company is looking into bitcoin, but confirmed that the lack of subscription billing is a deterrent:

“The main problem is that bitcoin doesn’t rebill – meaning that for a subscription-based business like Kink, it’s not an immediate win.”

Despite the comments, however, Coinbase does offer subscription billing services, though unlike credit cards – which pull funds directly – the customer is required to send the final payment each month.

The comments suggest that either awareness of the service remains low, or there is a belief that such a service is insufficient to meet the needs of the adult entertainment business.

Image credit: XXX lights via Shutterstock

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