Cryptocurrencies have an image problem, and John McAfee is not helping. The no-longer-reclusive once-millionaire founder of the eponymous security software made headlines this week after tweeting about how he uses cryptocurrencies for everything possible: from his first Bentley to "food, entertainment, clothing, homes, and sex for hire services."

McAfee has entered the crypto-trading game full force, investing in and publicly endorsing various coins through his Twitter feed. His choice of DogeCoin, 2013's "much meme, very wow" altcoin, as his Coin of the Week on January 8th, and the resultant surge, have led to accusations of McAfee "pumping and dumping" – but as evidenced by his earlier Tweet, altcoins aren't the only thing he's pumped and dumped.

To be fair, McAfee met his wife as a sex worker, and sex work payments facilitated by the internet isn't exactly news: it's the oldest profession meeting the latest technology. Let's take a peek into the world of camgirls and crypto with a look at how sex workers have played payment platform hopscotch as new ways to pay online emerge, get popular, and have to go legit by coming down on prostitution.

The World Wild Web

To take their ads, safety, and privacy into their own hands, web-savvy women are increasingly turning to creating their own platforms.

When most people think of soliciting a prostitute online, they think Craigslist. It's available in every city in the world, holds categories for buying and selling all sorts of things, and has been described as "the No. 1 way to meet an undercover police officer."

Although you can probably still find buyers and sellers of sex on the infamous List of Craig's, in 2010 the "Adult Services" section officially shut down, and the other sites listed on this thoughtful roundup of alternatives have almost all shuttered as well. MyRedBook was forced to close in 2014, Backpage was still battling government pressure last year, and had their servers raided by the FBI in November of 2017, exposing hundreds if not thousands of sex workers' identities to the U.S. government.

To take their ads, safety, and privacy into their own hands, web-savvy women are increasingly turning to creating their own platforms.

A web mistress by the name of Sophia Duvall pointed out that Wordpress goes on occasional sprees of suspending sex workers' sites, and further commenters revealed that the same was true of Wix and Squarespace, but that UK-based web host Moonfruit explicitly permits the explicit.

Cash, Grass or Apps

Anyone who uses the app can see that the lifestyles of many Instagram models are not only aspirational, they are completely unattainable, especially for someone who appears not to have stable employment. How do those girls go on so many vacations? Sites like Tag Your Sponsor claim to expose Instagram models who are "sponsored" (not by brands). While it's not exactly an advert or a payment platform for sex work, there is definitely money to be made on Insta by being visibly rich, desirable, and living the life of luxury on someone else's dime.

A recent trend in selling sexually explicit content is to do it via Snapchat. After setting up a Shopify or other similar webstore on their personal websites to collect a subscription fee, entrepeneurs like Miss Julianne and Lena The Plug release photos and videos regularly on one condition: no screenshots, or you're off the friends list.

Want to keep your sexual content separate from your social media? In Germany, where prostitution is legal, there are several apps (Peppr and Ohlala are the most popular) for advertising time with some of Deutschland's most available singles, and dating apps such as Seeking Arrangement implicitly connect young women in need of money all over the world with men in possession of uncomfortably full wallets.

As far as online payments go, PayPal has long enjoyed the business of sex workers while actively prohibiting and rejecting any association with prostitution. Accounts vary, with some sex workers reportedly receiving payments with no problem, while others' accounts are frozen and funds withheld.

Despite expressly forbidding payment for sexual services, it seems the agreement with PayPal is don't ask, don't tell (or just don't get caught). But the lack of privacy in most online payment platforms remains a problem for workers and their clients. Square seemed like an obvious mobile payment solution for the ho on the go with its easy-to-use plug-and-play credit card readers, and there has yet to be a publicized case of Square cracking down on sex workers; but you're still using a credit card to pay for sex.

Venmo, which allows for instant payments without almost zero transaction fees, is PayPal's hip, millennial sibling, and yet to have a sex scandal. In fact, the opposite is true: Vicemo, a site that aggregates publicly available Venmo data searching for "booze, drugs, and sex" in the text and emojis used for payment details, makes it abundantly clear that no one will take you seriously if you write "hookers and blow" (even if that's what you were buying).


Motherboard published a "Sex Workers Guide To Bitcoin" when Backpage stopped accepting credit cards in 2015, and has pointed out that the sex industry is still thriving on Bitcoin and the Backpage Effect in 2017.

But with the current volatility of most cryptocurrencies, many prospective buyers are wondering if it's worth the risk – not legally, but financially. To quote one Redditor on /r/bitcoin, "By the time you'd finished, it would have gone up another 20%."

Touted as the "World's First Bitcoin Brothel," a British escort service accepting bitcoins in 2013 charged 3.75 BTC for a 90-minute session. At the time, this was worth approximately $460.00. Three months later, in December of 2013, the price of Bitcoin had its first spike over $1,000.00 – and we really hope the girls kept their coins at least that long, but it's doubtful.

In today's BTC? Those 90 minutes cost $51,225.00.

Just to reinforce my point here, in the hour I stepped away from writing this article to have lunch, the BTC price rose $500.00. So make that $52,500.00 for 90 minutes.

Of course, it's not fair to restrict these speculations to only Bitcoin, when Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and a host of other altcoins are jockeying for the spotlight. The preferred tip for a pinup posted on /r/GirlsGoneCrypto/ the QR-friendly photo board (NSFW link), is Litecoin, but all types of tips are welcome.

If McAfee has anything to say about it, in the very near future we could be tipping strippers with Doge. Much sexy. Very wow.