Cryptocurrency

Pornhub Adds Monero After Getting the Credit Card Snub, Accepts Crypto Only

Pornhub has said that it is accepting crypto only for its adult premium services. This is after both Visa and Mastercard declined to continue their partnership with the website. 

A news publication on claimed that after Mastercard and Visa stopped their working partnership with Pornhub. The adult site now has decided to accept crypto in chosen locations. The new development comes after a New York Times post stating the adult site showed abuse. 

Pornhub has denied that they show abuse material or children on their adult site. For now, subscribers can be pay using cryptocurrency. Pornhub, which happens to be one of the world’s largest adult sites, is now accepting payments in Bitcoins. 

Recently Visa and Mastercard stopped their services to the adult site because of the post about it. Decrypt Media publishes the latest news on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency had a tweet on the new development. 

It is quite similar to last year, in November when PayPal stopped payments to the adult site. Today’s new development will hurt the revenues of the performers of the adult streaming site. However, Pornhub will use cryptocurrencies like Tether (USDT), Tron (TRX), and Verge (XVG). 

Now, Pornhub also accepts Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Dash (DASH), Monero (XMR), to name a few. They also accept cryptocurrencies like NEM (XEM), Waves (WAVES), and ZCash (ZEC).

The adult site has seen a tremendous increase beginning of the pandemic with more than 3 billion visits so far. Allie Eve Knox, who is one of the performers, felt that the whole situation could have been dealt with more fairly. 

Instead of the credit card companies going to this distance to hold Pornhub accountable, the performers were vocal about the adult site follow the law. Knox feels that the performer’s main source of income was from the credit card company. 

Content creators will also be hurt because the money was going right in there. In light of the snub by the payment companies, they have gone the other way. Ensuring that their performers and customers are not affected, they have brought a wide range of cryptocurrencies. 

A news publication on also said that same news about Pornhub accepting cryptocurrency. The adult site is now accepting cryptocurrency Monero as payment. This is amid reports that credit card companies have now cut operations with the adult site.

When the move of accepting Monero was made, but it may have occurred last week. The thing about the cryptocurrency is that only users from countries like the UK, North America, Singapore, and a few others can make use of the payment option. 

For now, the payment option for users with IP addresses located in the European Union is acceptable. Lastschrift is a bank debit system or SEPA, where the bank transfer system can operate only in the European Union. 

However, users in America and Japan may not have issues using Bitcoin. Research has shown that the main traffic to Pornhub comes from America, Japan, and Germany. Other countries in the Eurozone account for it too. 

History of Pornhub

Pornhub.com was founded way back in the year 2005. It was a subsidiary of MindGeek, a Luxembourg-based IT platform for streaming entertainment content. This news may impact the viewer ratings, though only time will tell if it did make inroads to the site. 

It should be noted that the adult site’s main revenues come from advertising. Most of them make payments using credit card companies. Looking at the bright side to the post published in the New York Times last week, Pornhub has made changes on their site. 

They have announced strict measures to combat abuse of any kind to women and children if they found any of them. Additionally, they will allow verified content creators to publish their material on the site. 

They will be expanding their moderation of content broadly to ensure that these sorts of things do not occur again on their site. They posted that they are getting “picked on because” they are a porn site. 

These forces are the same that have been idolizing Playboy, sex education, LGBTQ rights, and even the American Library Association for 50 years. They added on their post; sadly, it is Pornhub today. 

Is Pornhub the solution that cryptocurrency users were waiting for? 

This is something that time will only tell. Porn and cryptocurrency are both different. Given in the situation we are all in, the current pandemic and lockdowns occurring throughout the world often now, people of all ages might resort to viewing porn often. 

So, the chances of users making use of the situation may arise significantly. Few of the cryptocurrency users already spoke their minds before this even happened. The Bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakamoto said Bitcoin could help the adult industry grow profitably. 

Nakamoto felt that the convenience of viewing it “without having anybody in your home know about” it could probably be the reason. Your “family or spouse will not know about the transaction” happening the credit cards, and there is no need to trust the site. 

Pau Graham, who is the founder of YCombinator, echoed the same thought. Graham said the credit card companies’ have too many censorship policies that can mark their eventual death in the long run when they get hold of robust alternatives like cryptocurrency.

This brings us to the final question, is it going to impact the adult site badly. Well, we are talking about one of the most visited sites in the world. Besides Netflix and Reddit, Pornhub is a household name in several countries. 

Pornhub saw every minute more than 80000 visits, 75000 searches, and 209000 video views last year. A small example of just how popular the site is of a less popular performer, LittleReislin, can have more than 200 million views. 

In light of the actual situation, the mayhem’s real winner is a cryptocurrency that will make a colossal fortune for users out of this. Besides, Pornhub can make use of this business opportunity.

Why Privacy Coins Are Important in 2019 And Beyond

Let’s face it – the main criticism of privacy coins is that they’re involved in criminal activity in some way. In fact, that’s a criticism that cryptocurrencies in general tend to draw, despite the fact that the vast, vast majority of criminal transactions are carried out in good old-fashioned fiat currencies.

The truth is, there are all kinds of crucially important use cases that privacy coins like Monero and Zcash can facilitate.

Personal Security

A major flaw in the fiat system is that the digital trail of personal finances left by online transactions leaves retail consumers open to being targeted by bad actors. Phishing scams and data breaches result in people’s bank account details being stolen and used to facilitate money-laundering and credit card fraud without their knowledge, and there are huge, thriving black marketplaces which deal in stolen financial information.

Beyond being digitally attacked, there were several instances last year where people were physically attacked and robbed of their Bitcoin.

Privacy coins could help eliminate all that.

By leaving no trace of transactions, users have no vulnerable data to be exploited and used for criminal activity.

Freedom of Political Support

Seeing as Edward Snowden openly spoke out in support of Zcash, it’s no wonder that the Edward Snowden Foundation accepts the privacy coin as a payment method for donations to Snowden’s legal defense. In a world where political affiliations can and do get people locked up or killed by oppressive governments, it’s important to have an untraceable method of sending peer-to-peer transactions to support revolutionary causes.

That may sound like hyperbole in the case of Snowden, but he’s actually a perfect example – former US President Barrack Obama made it illegal to donate money to Snowden’s cause, legislating that the government could even seize and confiscate any funds sent, and making the use case for privacy coins in political support not an ideological theory but a very real and practical use case being put to good use right now, today.

Personal Financial Sovereignty

I recently wrote about how banks in India and Pakistan are forcing customers to choose between crypto or banking services, scanning all account transactions and closing down the accounts of anyone found purchasing or trading in Bitcoin or other digital assets.

Cryptocurrencies are a real threat to the traditional banking system, but the infrastructure and adoption simply isn’t there yet to allow people to forego banks altogether. Banks in these countries are trying to draw a line in the sand, nipping adoption in the bud by making customers elect currently functional services of the past over the low-cost, decentralized solutions of the future.

However, once again, privacy coins can save the day here and are likely already playing a role. Services like Local Bitcoins can allow people to buy Bitcoin without a digital footprint linking it to their bank account, and then from there the Bitcoin can be transferred to a decentralized exchange and used to buy untraceable privacy coins, allowing people personal freedom over their own finances without banks and state bodies shutting down their bank accounts.

Drain the Swap: Lessons on Loving the Atomic Swap

CoinMarketCap currently lists over 1,600 different cryptocurrencies, and the number of new coins is expected to increase, and probably increase dramatically.

If an individual owns only one cryptocurrency and will only ever trade in that one cryptocurrency throughout his entire life, then all trades are simple transactions on that one blockchain. (After all, many people over the world may well go their whole lives only using the fiat currency of their given nation.)

However, in the borderless and dynamic world of cryptocurrency, people often own more than one type of coin. A person might have a portfolio of many coins. A person might have a varied portfolio that includes Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin, Monero, and maybe some more obscure coins as speculative investments. Each of these coins exist on their own blockchain, and none of these blockchains talk to each other.

At some point, you might want to trade your ether for bitcoin, your Monero for Litecoin, your Litecoin for Ether, your Bitcoin for something, or your something for something else altogether. In a centralized context, you could do this on an exchange and trust the exchange to handle the details of the transaction.

This approach is no different than processing a transaction through a bank or making a payment with a credit card. The buyer and the seller both trust the centralized bank to lock the funds in the process and to ensure that all parties end up with the correct assets, or that a refund is processed if the transaction cannot complete to everyone’s satisfaction.

Centralized exchanges function in exactly the same way as centralized banks.

But a number of good reasons exist why you might not want to do your trades through a centralized authority. You might not trust the centralized authority. The fees the centralized authority charges might be too high.

The website of the centralized authority might go down or have other accessibility issues. You might sacrifice a certain amount of privacy by using a centralized authority.

In a trustless, decentralized environment, a cross-chain atomic swap would do everything a centralized authority would do. The “cross-chain” nature provides a bridge between separate blockchains. The “atomic” nature ensures that the trade (the “swap”) would complete successfully or that all assets would be returned to their original owners.

Cross-Chain Atomic Swaps 101

Live action shot of an atomic swap.

Cross-chain atomic swaps can be implemented on any blockchain that supports hashlocks and timelocks. Suppose Alice has a-coins, and Bob has b-coins, and they want to trade. They do not have any reason to trust each other, and they do not want to use a centralized exchange. A high-level overview of how this would work in a cross-chain atomic swap is as follows.

1) Alice chooses a random value X and hashes it to create the private hashlock to lock the transaction. She keeps this value to herself for now and posts Transaction 1 to send her a-coins to Bob. These funds are currently unspendable because they are locked with the hashlock.

2) Bob waits for Transaction 1 to be confirmed, then posts Transaction 2 sending his b-coin to Alice. He does not yet know the value of X to unlock the hashlock, so all funds are unspendable at this point.

3) Alice waits for Transaction 2 to be confirmed, after which she posts Transaction 3, in which shares the value of X with Bob.

4) Bob posts Transaction 4 which unlocks the funds. Bob now has coins from Alice he can spend, and Alice has coins from Bob she can spend.

All four transactions must complete for the overall transaction to complete; this is what is meant by the word “atomic” to describe this process.

Proper time management is required for the above protocol to work.

For instance, if for any reason Alice never posts Transaction 3, all funds could be frozen and lost forever. This is where a timelock is useful. If Transaction 3 does not occur within a specified time frame, the timelock cancels the transaction, and all funds are reverted to their original owners.

And since Alice has the value of X to begin with, the implementation must be very careful to prevent any shenanigans Alice might attempt. The time between Transaction 3 and Transaction 4 is also important in this regard. If the algorithm is not implemented correctly, exploits exist where Alice could share the value of X but not give Bob time to retrieve his coins from the transaction.

The above approach describes the TierNolan algorithm (for a discussion of the topic, see this thread: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=193281.msg2224949). This protocol has different variations. For example, if Alice and Bob both trust each other, the number of transactions can be reduced and simplified.

One convenient place to locate this protocol would be to take a lot of the processing off the primary blockchains and implement the logic in a side chain like the Lightning Network.This would reduce the burden of miners having to process all the transactions on the primary blockchains, and it would speed up the overall process.  You can find an explanation of the Lightning Network here: https://coincentral.com/lightning-network-beginners-guide/

Final Thoughts

Other algorithms exist, and for good reasons. One entirely different way of doing cross-chain atomic swaps separate from the TierNolan protocol would be to create a whole new blockchain outside both the a-coin blockchain and the b-coin blockchain.

Olaus Magnus Historia om de nordiska folken. Bok 4 – Kapitel 5 – Om varubyte utan penningar. – Utgivningsår 1555.

This new blockchain would be an intermediary between the two separate cryptocurrencies. This new blockchain would understand both a-coins and b-coins and be able to process transactions between them. This approach would require network nodes for this new blockchain and miners willing to invest the resources to process the transactions.

The new network would require a governance model to ensure that transactions were processed fairly and securely and that none of the parties would have any advantage over the other.

Regardless of the method used, in a decentralized, trustless world with a multitude of cryptocurrencies in use, cross-chain atomic swaps will inevitably become an important component of cryptocurrency trading.

Originally posted here

written by Wilton Thornburg

What is Monero? A beginner’s guide

If you’ve heard of Monero, it’s probably as a privacy coin. This is a project that has taken huge strides in cryptography to design a truly anonymous electronic payment system, a major step in the crypto world.

Monero is built through CryptoNote, an application layer protocol that powers many other decentralized cryptocurrencies today. The first currency launched that was based on CryptoNote was Bytecoin, which went live in 2012. It was a big step, but a little shady too! 80% of the coins were already published, essentially pre-mined. This left the currency wide open to price manipulation, and the community was having none of it. The proejct promptly forked into Bitmonero and eventually renamed as Monero.

So… what is it?

Monero is a private, anonymous, fungible coin with a number of appealing advantages over pseudonymous coins like Bitcoin. We covered pseudonymous vs anonymous coins recently – here’s a quick recap that will explain fungibility too.

Bitcoin: Pseudonymous, not very fungible

When you buy and exchange Bitcoin, you leave a trail that is in some ways even less anonymous than using fiat currency. The blockchain ledger is a permanent record that stores every single Bitcoin transaction ever made forever – not only that, you can actually identify which Bitcoin or fragment of a Bitcoin was used in which transaction.

You often see bank robbers in movies getting all worked up about serial numbers, and for good reason. If money is stolen from a bank, the government will issue the serial numbers of each note to other banks and businesses in an attempt to track the currency. With Bitcoin and other similar currencies, it’s even easier – if some Bitcoin was used in an illegal transaction in 2011, it’s possible to trace that currency to the current owner, even if the crime has nothing to do with them. So in a lot of ways, pseudonymous cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are extremely helpful to law enforcement for apprehending criminals. Not what they sell you in mainstream media, I know.

In all likelihood, the majority of fiat currency notes (like dollar bills) you come into contact with have been used to make an illegal purchase at some point in the past. However, the serial number isn’t usually being monitored. It’s a concern that as adoption grows, Bitcoin used in illegal transactions and then recirculated to new owners may be “tainted” by its illicit past, and that certain exchanges may not accept it, or that governments may attempt to seize it. This leads to certain Bitcoins potentially being more valuable than others!

That makes Bitcoin a “non-fungible asset” that can’t always be easily exchanged, much like a phone or a painting. The ability to identify specific Bitcoin as opposed to each unit of currency being interchangeable means a lack of fungibility, or interchangeability. If an asset can easily be exchanged, it’s fungible. Once we start seeing each Bitcoin as a unique item, they become less fungible, and that’s not the only issue.

Given that Bitcoin users all have public keys that correspond to each purchase, they are in a sense tied to their transaction history. If someone were to learn a user’s public key, every transaction they’d ever made could be viewed with ease. In a sense, this is still more private than using names and dates of birth like with digital fiat payments – in fact, the public key essentially replaces the name, like a pseudonym (hence pseudonymous). However, it’s not true privacy, and even fiat records can be lost or destroyed, which is highly unlikely with blockchain – that’s sort of the point! The record is there forever, and these features of Bitcoin-based currencies allow authorities to link current users to the crimes of other, unrelated users, as well as simply track how much someone earns or spends without asking by simply having access to their public key.

Monero: Anonymous, fungible, and more

That brings us to Monero, a currency specifically designed to avoid these problems and many others besides.

Monero is a privacy coin, and it’s not possible to trace a person’s spending with their public key. In fact, Monero uses a completely different system with multiple keys and signatures to ensure this. Here’s how it works.

Stealth Addresses (and multiple keys)

So, first of all:

Second of all, it is cool, and here’s why.

Your stealth address is where you receive your funds, and as the name suggests, it’s a secretive affair. Nobody else knows about it or has access to it. A Monero wallet address is actually a 95 character string which consists of a public spend key and a public view key, and these two keys combine along with some random data to make a “one time public key”, or stealth address. If I send you XMR (Monero), my wallet takes your public spend and view keys, generates a stealth address, and transfers the money. This is not visibly linked in any way to your address or wallet, completely hidden from the blockchain. Anyone scanning the blockchain can view the stealth address, but that’s it – they won’t see who it connects to.

For you to retrieve the funds, you’ll need your private spend key. The whole transaction is private and unlinked with no visible record – however, if I need to, I can demonstrate that I did in fact send the money.

Ring Signatures

So recipients are protected by stealth addresses – if the address is hidden, we can’t see who’s receiving the money. What about the senders? This is where ring signatures come into play.

When someone sends funds on the Monero blockchain, the transaction is digitally signed (this is always necessary on a blockchain to prevent double spending). However, with Monero, four other “decoy” signatures are also included. These come from other people on the blockchain. The signatures all merge into a “ring signature”, with no way of knowing which signature corresponds to the person sending the money.

Double spending is prevented through the use of “key images”. Only one exists per transaction, and a complete list of key images is kept o the blockchain. Miners can then verify that no key images are repeated, meaning no double spending is taking place. This is done without ever connecting the key image to a user – totally private.

Pretty crafty!

Other features

Monero ASIC resistant in the sense that it is too expensive to profitably mine with ASIC chips. This is due to the CryptoNote system using the CryptoNight hashing algorithm, which ASIC chips are not designed for. Even if there is ASIC research taking place to crack Monero, there’s a possibility that they will switch up the hashing algorithm. Coins that aren’t very ASIC-friendly are perceived by the crypto community as being less subject to falling under the control of mining pools, which would contribute to true decentralization.

Monero is also dynamically scalable. Bitcoin’s 1mb limit on block size has led to the blockchain becoming too slow to ever be a viable method of transaction in the world of commerce unless it can be rescued by SegWit and the Lightning Network.

Monero was put together with this in mind, and there’s no set limit on the block size. Instead, an average block size of the last hundred blocks is taken, and blocks that are too large are subject to miner penalties – this prevents malicious miners from deliberately slowing down the blockchain with overly large, data-heavy blocks.

XMR is definitely a crypto to keep an eye on as digital currencies begin to gain mainstream adoption.

Interested in other cool crypto posts….check out Mining Wars: Bitmain vs Dragonmint and The Price of Bitcoin vs Cost of Mining.

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