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A minor cryptocurrency partners with a major porn network. What could go wrong?

Yesterday brought some interesting news in the cryptocurrency space. In a move that is at once sleazy and ridiculous, PornHub and its tech arm MindGeek announced a partnership with the creators of VergeCoin (XVG), an anonymized cryptocurrency in the vein of Monero that is currently trading at 7 cents, down from an all-time high of about 26 cents during a recent pump.

XVG is an epitome of a coin driven by mania. Originally billed as DogecoinDark in 2014, the currency has had some ups and downs but has always displayed the “move fast and break things” mentality that gives cryptocurrencies a bad name. The product is so hapless it can’t even get their Wikipedia entry right.

The currency developers recently beseeched its rabid fans — many of whom have been waxing confused on Reddit — to raise $2 million to build a secret partnership. Weeks of speculation followed as Vergins speculated about partners, including eBay and Amazon. The price went up and down and has settled below 10 cents, placing it at position 23 on the CoinMarketCap list. It’s doing well, but not great.

Yesterday the big announcement came, as it were. I received a few emails from PornHub PR announcing a crypto partnership but they refused to announce the currency. Now that the currency is officially announced, I’m sure there are some folks who are upset they bought a load of Titcoin.

Verge has partnered with PornHub to allow users to pay with the currency. Why? And why would you want to? This is unclear. Presumably the currency allows you to pay completely anonymously but you still have to acquire Verge to pay with Verge and associating a currency with porn pretty much gives the game away as to why you’d spend it. Further, the extensive marketing efforts make PornHub look far more interesting than Verge, especially since Verge shares the same name with the Verge tech site, something that is bound to confuse average buyers. Finally, you get no real benefit from paying with Verge and, in fact, you can’t get your Verge refunded if you decide you no longer want to pay $9.99 a month for premium PR()N.

Ultimately this is better for porn than it is for cryptocurrency. PornHub gets a little bit of a media boost and cryptocurrencies — including Bitcoin, Ether and ICO tokens — look like the only source for porn. While VHS and the internet grew out of porn, cryptocurrencies are already well-established and they don’t need any more “sin” associated with them. You can also pay for a number of services with crypto, including Flirt4Free, a cam girl site associated with LiveJasmin. Given that a series of stars in big trucks will be rolling through the U.S. over the next few months promoting cryptocurrencies — that $2 million had to go somewhere — it could be positive for crypto uptake but very bad for crypto perception.

While I agree that crypto needs a shot in the arm and a sense of mission, I doubt making it easier to see naked people is quite it. I’d like to see real remittances, real real estate transactions and even real voting systems put in place. Until then, however, stunts like this do little to help.


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