PayPal Ends Service for Pornhub

PayPal Ends Service for Pornhub

By Benson Toti - min read

PayPal has recently announced that they will not provide service to adult entertainment site Pornhub. This news may seem unrelated to cryptocurrency, but it is actually inherent in the argument for the existence of cryptocurrencies. 

PayPal has been waging a war on sex work for a while and has a ban on what they call “sexually-oriented goods”. This is in their terms of service despite the business activities being fully legal. PayPal alleges that PornHub made business payments without the permission of the payment processor. These payments would be to models in exchange for the work they do through the platform. 

A VP at Pornhub told CoinDesk “we currently pay out in verge and are evaluating adding other cryptocurrency payout options.” Once again, attempts to infringe upon the freedoms of users actually pushes them towards platforms and networks with fewer limitations rather than preventing the business activity. 

As some comments on Twitter made clear, not everyone is technologically adept enough to know how to use cryptocurrencies. This is where the opportunity open for companies who can make it extremely simple for users to accept cryptocurrency. Some exchanges differentiate themselves with low trading fees and efficient transactions, but others will carve out a niche where they are the easiest to use. 

Moving Past the Gatekeepers

From a libertarian standpoint, no matter what you believe that pornography may do to society, if someone is willing to pay and it is legal, then there is no reason that access should be stifled. Although PayPal is a private company and has the right to implement whatever restriction they see fit, the level of control they are exerting here seems like it could hurt their business in the long run. 

The same argument applies with many banks who have shown that they have the ability to exert control over what purchases are made. This became evident in 2017 as cryptocurrency began to gain mainstream popularity. Banks would prevent transactions with exchanges like Coinbase or Kraken because of the nature of the assets that were being purchased. 

No businesses want to feel like there is a question of them getting paid while working through PayPal. When you are depending on another company’s policies and decision-making for such a key utility of a company, it gets dangerous. There is the perceived possibility of getting shut down at any time, which makes cryptocurrency appear to be a far better option. 

No one can shut down Bitcoin. There’s no executive who can prevent certain purchases. It is even difficult for the government to seize. Many argue that this might be a bug because of it enabling illicit activities, but it could also be viewed as a feature in that the users have full control of their money and there are no gatekeepers to limit their freedoms.