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.

Vitalik Buterin urges Bitcoin & Ethereum collaboration

In a tweet the Co-founder of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin, believed it was unsettling that Ethereum and Bitcoin do not have official channels despite being the two biggest network in the Blockchain industry. 

He also implied that there is no free-flow between the networks which is not a good sign and also wanted to work on new approaches that would propose to make a Decentralized exchange or DEX to close the widening gap between the two. DEX lets cryptocurrency holders trade with each other directly on a peer-to-peer basis without the need for an intermediary. There cannot be an exchange of trade between cryptocurrency and fiat currency as fiat currencies need a central party for recording account balances. 

This can be equated to Uniswap which is the automated Ethereum exchange as per Buterin. If the DEX is established it will reduce this gap but also best practices for decentralized exchanges in general. The ongoing issue of poor liquidity in the market will also benefit to a great extent.  

Interoperability in simple terms implies the ability to share and access different levels of information across diverse networks without the need for any intermediaries. This sort of interoperability can only be achieved with the presence of DEX. The different blockchain networks operated independently like for instance, the Bitcoin blockchain operates separately from the Ethereum network which is chiefly the issue highlighted. 

He also hinted that Zcash could be onboarded next as he is already in the discussion mode with the Coin company head honcho Zooko Wilcox. 

In an earlier statement given by Buterin, he provided his wholehearted support for privacy coins ascertaining that they are much better than Central Bank digital currencies (CBDC). For legitimate users, privacy coins are preferable as they can publicly make transparent their financial transactions. It will remove the scope of sourcing ill-gotten funds in the system and also remain anonymous thereby hampering the entire network of transactions. 

Image Source – Flickr

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.

Bitmex Review: A Haven for Pro Traders?

Almost a decade after Satoshi’s middle finger to banks and government, through the creation of a peer-to-peer digital currency which does not need intermediaries to function, bitcoin has inspired the creation of more trading exchanges than seen in traditional markets. Today we’ll focus on Bitmex, a bitcoin futures trading exchange. This will be a review on what the exchange offers, its security status, team behind the spotlight, and pros & cons.

First things first, Bitmex is short for Bitcoin Mercantile Exchange. It’s an advanced platform best suited for pro traders. Beginners in crypto trading would do well to garner experience from other simpler platforms. One distinguishing factor between Bitmex and other crypto exchanges is that the former only offers bitcoin futures trading services. Thus, traders are actually not trading bitcoin and other cryptos, but trading contracts/ derivatives with bitcoin as the underlying value. Bitmex also allows margin trading, also known as leverage trading. Records shows the exchange has a trading volume of over 35,000 BTC daily, with not less than $34 billion worth of BTC being traded since first transaction.

Let’s backpedal a bit, to explain some terms. Derivatives are contracts whose value is based on an underlying asset. Derivative contracts can be written on virtually anything, including bitcoin. Margin trading, or leverage trading is simply trading with borrowed funds, using the initial balance as collateral. For instance, a trader needs $5000 for a trade, but has $2500, he can then proceed with his trade via a 2:1 leverage. This means he gets to borrow an extra $1 for every $1 he has.

How it Works

Only BTC is allowed for deposits and withdrawals on the exchange. Although, on the exchange, there are trading contracts featuring other cryptos like Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Dash, Ripple, Zcash and a few others. Traders from the US are not allowed on the platform. But of course, some US based traders utilize VPN in order to bypass the IP checks. Contracts are valued in USD and two other fiat currencies: Japanese Yen and Chinese Yuan.

To get started, all that is required is a functioning email to which the account opening verification link will be sent to. Anonymous names are allowed, meaning there is no KYC. However, the complicated nature of the platform, coupled with the high risks involved in margin and derivatives trading, means those able to trade on the platform, are likely to be pros.

Once registered, one can begin trading, of course after depositing into the Bitmex account. Trading through the Market Order button means it is an instant trade using the current market price. Trading through the Limit Order button means the trade will be initiated once it is triggered by the market getting to the given price. As explained in details in a different article, Bitmex offers two types of leverage accounts on their platform. Futures account which has an expiry date, sometime in the future and perpetual account which is continuously being renewed. Leveraging on Bitmex allows for up to 100x leverage.

Fee Schedule BitMEX

Unknowing to many, Bitmex’s fees are actually on the high side. But at least, they are straightforward and not hidden nor subtle. Fees depend on the type of contract or the product. From as high as 5% for margin and maintenance, to as low as -0.25% for maker fees. No fees are deducted for deposits and withdrawals. Although, there is a minimum withdrawal amount and a minimum fee to be paid for blockchain load. Trading on Bitmex can only be done on a PC, as there is currently no mobile version, nor an app for the platform.

The Team

HDR Global Trading Limited is the holding company for Bitmex. HDR itself was founded by the trio Arthur Hayes, Ben Delo and Samuel Reed, former banker, trader and web developer. Yes, HDR happens to be an acronym for the first letters of their surnames. The trio registered the trading platform Bitmex in Seychelles in 2014, but currently operate out of Hong Kong.

Having such an experienced and skilled team behind the platform presupposes there is a strong security framework in place. This is a fact, considering there are security protocols in place such as multi-signature deposits and withdrawals process, text messages, emails and two-factor authentication features, and also, hardware tokens. Written in kdb+, a database and toolset used by major banks involved in high volume trading, Bitmex has held its ground and has never been hacked.

In today’s era of automated responses and chatbots, Bitmex customer support appears to be able to attend to traders within an hour. Feedback on their customer support is good. They also have other on site help like FAQs and trading guides.

All in all, Bitmex has several advantages, with the major disadvantage being that anyone considering braving Bitmex must be a pro trader, a beginner is likely to get rekt, if not careful. The platform’s trading sophistication is better suited for persons familiar with crypto trading. For those who like referral programs, Bitmex pays out millions of dollars annually to referrers.

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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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