Bitcoin payment processor BitPay announced that starting April 25, 2018, it would no longer be processing payments for any merchants using its platform that dealt with sexually explicit content.
This came as a result of BitPay’s ToS agreement update on February 2nd of this year, whereby they updated their terms to restrict the sale of certain activities or services through their platform. Among them, the sale of sexually explicit content. This likely comes as reactionary measure to increased scrutiny to the Bitcoin ecosystem by governments and regulatory bodies.
Traditionally it has been difficult for adult sites to get a payment processor to take their payments, largely due to the deemed risk of chargebacks and fraud. Nevertheless, there are a few companies out there willing to take on credit card payments for sexually explicit sites. Among these companies, CCBill, SegPay, Epoch, and Verotel are some of the most well known adult payment processors.
Verotel has been around since 1998, and has gained a reputation in the adult community for being quite easy to work with. If you are an adult content producer all you have to do is add a link to your Verotel signup page, and they do the rest. No need to integrate a complicated checkout or payment system directly into your website. They also are more willing to deal with fringe fetish content (e.g. hardcore BDSM, AB/DL, watersports) that might not be allowed by other, larger payment processors.
It should come as no surprise then that there are thousands of adult and “high-risk” sites that use Verotel for payments. As of February 2nd, there were at least 200 of those sites accepting Bitcoin for signups. Unfortunately, due to BitPay’s ToS change, that is 200+ sites that no longer are able to accept Bitcoin for signup (at least not easily). There are still a handful that claim to accept Bitcoin, but require you to reach out to the site owner via email to complete the transaction. Quite a hassle when compared to the instant signup that credit card offers…
What now? Many merchants in the same position as Verotel have decided to make the switch to BTCPay, a free and open source alternative to BitPay that can be easily integrated in the same manner as BitPay. Unfortunately, it looks like Verotel is in no rush to implement an alternative to BitPay, while networks such as Wankz have already done so.
I reached out to Verotel for comment in May to see what their timeline might be on re-implementing Bitcoin payments for its users. They responded with this:
Unfortunately I cannot offer any detailed news. We are currently during the compliance process for new provider.
It seems that we should be seeing an alternative soon, but given that it has already been well over a month since that response, it is a bit discouraging.
In the meantime, there are still a large number of quality adult sites that will gladly accept Bitcoin, so feel free to check out our up to date list of porn sites that take Bitcoin. Sites that accepted Bitcoin at one point with Verotel, but no longer do, have been crossed out. Hopefully in the near future those sites will be back in the Bitcoin ecosystem!