Tube8, a Pornhub subsidiary with over 150 million page visits every month, wants to incentivize consumers’ porn-watching habits with cryptocurrency.
The company revealed it has entered an agreement with Vice Industry Token (VIT) that will see its entire platform tokenized. The collaboration will enable users to earn VIT tokens for streaming and interacting with Tube8 videos.
The token implementation is planned to begin at some point before the end of the year. The announcement makes Tube8 the first major adult platform to adopt token-based rewards and actually pay its users for interacting with the content.
Some context first:
The adult entertainment industry has long been known as pioneers of early technology. This goes back to porn studios first emerging as a legal workaround to enable sex work—as long as there’s a camera.
This announcement is notable for the sheer number of users who actively use the site. It’s the first major test that will actually yield important data about whether this time of crypto business model works in practice.
According to Tube8 spokesperson Robin Turner, “For as long as I can remember, getting paid to watch porn was always a pipedream; one that was always dreamed about, but never fully realized. Now however, with the introduction of VIT, we are marking a paradigm shift in how people consume adult entertainment.
As opposed to having to fork over money to consume content, which some sites require, our users will get paid to consume our free content,” he continued. The more they interact with our videos, the more money they earn.”
Tube8 did not elaborate on how its crypto-rewards will be calculated, but odds are the platform will set certain reward limits to prevent users from gaming the system for profits.
One thing users won’t have to stress about is paying extra fees to use their tokens. Turner emphasized this fact repeatedly when he said, “There are no fees but [Tube8 and Vice Industry Token] will hopefully benefit mutually by expanding their user bases and increasing engagement with their respective products through this collaboration.”
The choice for Tube8 to alter its platform with a fresh user engagement model makes sense, but the rationale for partnering with Vice Industry Token begs some important questions – especially when one considers in the heated controversy the token distributor itself was recently embroiled in with Tube8 parent company pornhub.
Rober Turner spoke on this matter when he said, “VIT offers Tube8 a way to reward their viewers by monetizing content through the VIT protocol. Whereas before, users would log in, watch a few videos and leave, VIT incentivizes them to create an account and interact with the content to generate Vice Tokens.
It is the only cryptocurrency that is designed specifically for tokenizing and rewarding viewers of free content on tube sites,” the Tube8 spokesperson continued. Anyone can earn VIT and anyone can buy VIT.”
Despite Tube8’s insistence that Vice Industry Token is the only solution specifically built for integrating token-based rewards, there are tons of other blockchain startups providing similar services – though not all of them are fully centralized (which nullifies some of the biggest advantages of using blockchain in the first place).
That said, Vice Industry Token has managed to strike deals with a number of adult industry household names, including a collaboration with Donald Trump whistleblower Stormy Daniels. So there is clearly something that is making the offering attractive to industry insiders (and hopefully that is not Vice Industry Token’s sales team).
Although this is mere speculation, one theory is that since VIT originated from the executives behind adult industry behemoth Hustler, it is possible that they have connections with alot of industry figures that eased the transition to a blockchain based business model. If you’ve done business with someone before, it’s easier to take a leap of faith.
There’s also the fact that cryptocurrency and blockchain technology in general is so “in” right now.
According to Turner, “Tube8 has over 10 million registered users who frequent the platform regularly Considering the popularity of cryptocurrency right now, it only made sense to pay them for watching, and interacting with, our videos. We value their attention and want to keep them coming back for more!”
There’s no doubt that rewarding users for their kinks is an offering likely to arouse the interest of many consumers across the globe. But given their ambitious goals and user base, Tube8 and Vice Industry Token have got some equally hefty technological hurdles ahead of themselves if they want to succeed.
The first of these undoubtedly is scalability.
While tokenizing a platform with a 10 million-strong user base and 150 million monthly visits sounds good, it is by no means an easy task. In fact, this would be nearly impossible on common blockchain networks like Ethereum, and this is according to co-founder Vitalik Buterin himself.
At present, Ethereum can handle roughly 15 transactions per second – far less than Tube8 would need to keep its millions of horny users properly rewarded consistently.
While Vice Industry Token has announced plans to migrate to a forked version of the Steem blockchain (which is more commonly known as Graphene) that purportedly can handle a throughput of 100,000 transactions per second, its VIT token is still based on Ethereum. The company ran an initial coin offering (ICO) on the Ethereum network, offering VIT as an ERC20 token.
Given that (as an ERC20 token) VIT suffers from the same problems that Ethereum does, the only way to fully tokenize Tube8 without clogging the entire blockchain would be by giving up decentralization – and running the VIT reward-based integration on Tube8 through a centralized server. This would completely defeat the point of moving the platform to a blockchain in the first place.
That said, these workarounds have arguably served as experiments in blockchain technology; and some companies may find this worth the risk if it means they will be on the bleeding edge of technological progress.
When asked about its plans to deal with the Ethereum-specific technological obstacles of its Vice Token integration, Tube8 suggested VIT has successfully transitioned to Graphene, and is no longer running on Ethereum.
Robert Turner further elaborated upon this as well, saying, “VIT’s blockchain, based on Graphene, can indeed handle the number of transactions required with no fee unlike Ethereum. VIT uses DPoS [Delegated Proof-of-Stake] and is fully decentralized. It is the only true working fork of Steem in existence.”
But according to Vice Industry Token reps on Telegram, VIT still operates on the ERC20 protocol. Even VICE CEO Stuart Duncan seems to agree on this point. “Everyone needs to understand there are a lot of moving parts to get Graphene as a software fork of Steem to run our platforms”, Duncan told VIT holders back in July.
Among other things, Duncan admitted on Telegram that one of the main roadblocks ahead of the Graphene migration is making sure the VIT-powered fork of Steem is completely bug-free. He also added the company is working hard on fixing so called “minor” bugs in a blog post from last month.
It goes without saying that this job might need more then a well-endowed pizza man knocking at the front door.
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.