Home Ethereum News Playboy will soon accept cryptocurrencies including bitcoin, ethereum, and a little-known coin that could change how …

Playboy will soon accept cryptocurrencies including bitcoin, ethereum, and a little-known coin that could change how …

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  • Playboy is adding cryptocurrency payments to its digital content, the company announced Wednesday.
  • The crypto wallet, set for release by the end of 2018, will let viewers use bitcoin and ethereum to buy pornography on Playboy.TV.
  • Playboy will also accept the Vice Industry Token, a new cryptocurrency designed specifically to monetize adult content by incentivizing high user engagement.
  • The idea behind the Vice Industry Token is that it could help adult-film producers bring in more advertising money to their platforms, which is a big deal in a such a saturated market. 

Playboy enthusiasts will soon have a new option when paying for pornography: cryptocurrencies. 

Playboy Enterprises, the company behind the experimental media empire, announced Wednesday that it will launch a crypto payment wallet across its digital content and online games.

The wallet will enable users to pay in bitcoin, ethereum, and alt-coins like the Vice Industry Token. Playboy expects to release it by the end of 2018.

It’s easy to be skeptical of Playboy’s announcement. Bitcoin and blockchain pivots are having a moment with companies leaning into the craze as a means of marketing otherwise-unrelated businesses.

Who could forget the company formerly known as Long Island Ice Tea, which got a second wind on the NASDAQ when it rebranded as Long Blockchain, or Kodak, which similarly saw its shares surge following the announcement of a Kodak coin. 

Playboy has also never been shy when it comes to experimenting with the latest tech — the company already has both augmented and virtual reality content. But there is a case to be made that cryptocurrencies could truly impact how the company does business.

Playboy struggles to monetize content, but the brand is strong

Though Playboy launched as a print magazine in 1953, today the majority of its profits come from the trademark and licensing agreements that have made Playboy Vodka and Playboy Bunny recreational wear a thing. 

kate moss Playboy magazine 2014Playboy Enterprises is considering folding its print magazine.Playboy

Playboy doesn’t share its financial information, but in 2015, the company made $38 million from its magazine and digital publishing efforts, and $55 million from licensing, according to The Wall Street Journal.

In January, The Journal reported that Playboy is considering folding its print magazine, which reportedly looses as much as $7 million annually, to focus on Playboy as a brand. 

One of the issues for larger companies in the adult film industry is that so-called “tube sites,” like RedTube and PornHub, often host pirated content — at least until the copyright infringing videos get flagged and removed, but it’s often a game of whack-a-mole as others are uploaded. This means advertising dollars are spread thin, and not always making it into the pockets of the companies creating the content. 

It is 2018, after all. Porn is free, and print is dead. But maybe, just maybe, crypto could help monetize the struggling industry.

One idea: gamify the porn watching experience with crypto 

Playboy’s decision to accept payments in bitcoin and ethereum doesn’t do much beside put its brand in the cryptocurrency conversation, and make life a little bit easier for users that prefer to pay with digital currencies. Bitcoin itself can be remarkably expensive and inefficient for small payments, and usually a credit card will do just as well.

magic the gatheringDuncan said he has no intention of listing VIT on a cryptocurrency exchange, but noted that the tokens could accrue value the way Magic: The Gathering cards do.Wikimedia

Alt coins, though, could provide new ways to think about monetization in an industry that relies heavily on clicks and advertisements. 

One of the coins Playboy plans to accept is the Vice Industry Token, or VIT, a cryptocurrency designed specifically to monetize adult content by incentivizing high user engagement.

VIT was started in 2017 by Stuart Duncan, a Canadian entrepreneur and CEO of an adult cable network called Ten Broadcasting. The project has raised nearly $15 million in an initial coin offering fundraiser, which ends next week. Duncan said the blockchain network should be fully operational by summer. 

The idea behind VIT is that users get coins for being highly engaged content consumers across the porn industry. Users will earn these coins across various adult film producers and brands as long as those brands have the blockchain running on its website. Users can then use those coins to buy premium content from companies like Playboy. 

Duncan said adult film companies were already exploring cryptocurrency for anonymous payments. But he thought he could build a better model.

If VIT keeps users engaged, Playboy could get more ad revenue 

The result, if all goes as planned, is a blockchain network that anonymously gathers data about pornography viewing habits from users around the ecosystem and encourages porn viewers to spend more time on websites.

Producers like Playboy get higher engagement, which could mean more money from advertisers. 

It’s basically just a loyalty card, Duncan said, which could make a big different in a market as saturated with free content as the porn industry.

As it stands, if a company like Playboy accepts VIT from a customer, it cannot use those coins outside of the VIT eco-system. So these companies won’t make money directly when they accept VIT as payment.

Duncan said he has no intention of listing VIT on cryptocurrency exchanges himself, and emphasized that VIT is not a security, and not subject to regulation by the Securities and Exchange Commission. 

But he did compare VIT to another collectible in his life: Magic: The Gathering cards. 

“I was going to Magic card shops and trading Magic cards. I could be paying $50 bucks. But I would be able to sell those cards to other people,” Duncan said. “That’s the future that we’re bringing. We’re not making it a tradable coin, but I’m gonna have a utility token that trades across our huge network.”

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