This Company Wants to Pay You Virtual Money to Watch Porn (and Hand Over Your Data)

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A new cryptocurrency and porn platform is banking on you wanting to spank it in return for internet money.

Vice Industry Token Inc. hopes that offering consumers, content creators, and distributors free “money”—in the form of its proprietary cryptocurrency—will help shake up the adult entertainment industry.


The concept behind Vice Industry Token (VIT) is seemingly simple: engage with the adult entertainment platform in exchange for cryptocurrency you can spend on content and services from the company and its partners. But you are sacrificing more than just your time to get paid—you are also handing over data.

Like many popular cryptocurrencies, VIT is built on an open-source blockchain, which is where tokens are generated and distributed, as described in the company’s white paper. It is also where each user’s engagement on the platform—watching videos or commenting, for example—is recorded. We have reached out to Vice Industry Token for more information on what type of metadata the company is collecting and will update once we hear back.


“This ability to capture authentic user engagement at the point of interaction forms the basis of the emerging ‘Attention Economy’, in what has come to be called ‘proof of brain’ technology,” the company states in its white paper. It adds that by documenting users’ viewer-engagement metadata, people who are creating porn for the platform can “more accurately identify viewers preferences, allowing them to refine and create better content for viewers.”

This isn’t a unique model—most of the free social networks and apps you now use are collecting your data to sell to third parties as a way to profit. And while this business model certainly adds yet another invasive layer to the internet, it remains to be seen whether people will want more sensitive data—like what they are getting off to—to be handed over to strangers. Although, to be fair, you are already handing over a ton of data to porn sites that pay you nothing.


“Consumers are earning a utility token by being on sites powered by Vice Token,” CEO Stuart Duncan told the Daily Beast. “They’re not going to care how the blockchain works, all they’re going to care about is getting a product for free and then the bonus of getting something for it, getting paid.”

If someone doesn’t mind sacrificing information on their porn consumption habits, then sure—getting paid for something they’re already doing isn’t inherently a bad thing. And while talking about the blockchain might make one’s eyes glaze over, it’s a misguided assumption to believe that people don’t care about how a product or service is tracking them. The language in the company’s frequently asked questions also strangely brags about its data collection. One of the FAQ asks how Vice Token stands out from other similar cryptocurrencies, such as SpankChain:

“... SpankChain coins do not capture viewer engagement metadata, a crucial element of the Attention Economy that drives is the real value behind VIT. In comparison VIT is a multi-dimensional token that can be used to reward viewers for their attention, to pay content producers for premium content, and for content distributors to monetize the data they collect by selling it to other providers of adult-related products and services.”


Like I said, business models based on user-data collection have proven supremely successful for the likes of Facebook and Google, and Vice Industry Token includes the added benefit of repaying your loyalty with some cryptomoney. But there are plenty of adult entertainment sites people can now access for free without their porn viewing habits ending up on the blockchain.

[The Daily Beast]


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About the author

Melanie Ehrenkranz

Reporter at Gizmodo

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