Why PornHub could use Bitcoin as Wikileaks, Venezuela and Iran have done

MasterCard and Visa, and soon perhaps PayPal, have severed their commercial relationships with PornHub: as always, in these cases the solution is Bitcoin

Nicholas Kristof is a journalist for the New York Times who in recent days has brought to light a huge scandal that, although it seems obvious, it is not clear why it did not come out sooner. The question he asked himself is: who verifies the consent of the people filmed in the porn videos that are posted on PornHub, one of the most well-known and used platforms in the industry? The answer, evidently, is “no one.” And if no one checks the consent of the people involved, then no one checks that they are actually of age and not underage and, above all, that they are not victims of rape or sexual abuse.

The NY Times has discovered that many of the searches carried out on this platform are precisely on “videos with minors” and Nicholas, with his report “The Children of PornHub”, was able to track down people who reported having been abused by children in the videos that were then uploaded on the platform. The investigation in a few hours went viral. Initially, the company PornHub decides to reject the accusations in toto thinking to be able to put out the fire of straw, but you know this is the era of hyperconnection, the news run faster than the flames. By now the story has been taken up by newspapers all over the world: Mindgeek, the holding company that owns the PornHub platform, decides to take a step back, apologize, urgently modify the authentication and video uploading policies, suspend downloads and open an internal investigation.

Too late. MasterCard and Visa decided to seize the ball, interrupt all working relationships with the platform and (rightly…) publicly condemn PornHub’s negligence and responsibility in this scandal. PayPal, the fourth uncomfortable that can not always play the part of cynic, is deciding in these days to follow its two competitors and abandon the platform. All right, you say. Almost. Warning, far be it from me to justify such an abominable behavior. On the contrary, I hope that every single person responsible for having committed those abuses will be arrested and rot in jail and with it I hope they rot in jail even those who have uploaded those videos on the site, those who have accepted and published them without controlling them, those who have searched, downloaded, shared and seen them and, above all, hundreds of thousands of unsuspecting people who between a search and another have seen these videos without reporting them, taking them almost for granted (it is no coincidence that Dante dedicates an internal circle of Hell to them, they deserve it).

However, this medal also has another side. Yes, because everything I have written above is my opinion, very personal, and it must remain so. I am not authorized to condemn before a trial or to decide, instead of a judge, what is right or wrong. I can do so, but only morally. Instead, a few hours ago, those who control the largest payment circuits in the world decided to put an end with a click to the possibility for millions of people (even honest ones) to pay and use services (mostly legal) by a private company (not yet condemned). This, too, is abominable. And it affects 3.5 billion people. Because so many are the users of the PornHub platform who are now prevented from using “their” money as they wish.

And it’s been happening all too often lately, hasn’t it?

Do you know on what other occasions it has happened? In 2011 a man named Julian Assange made viral all over the world a free and independent platform able to expose secrets, scandals, crimes and abuses committed around the world by government entities. Also in that case Mastercard, Visa and PayPal decided to suspend payments to millions of free citizens who until that moment really believed that the money they had in the bank was really their property. Well, Assange found himself forced to urgently search for a new payment system that was truly free, independent and decentralized and found the perfect solution in Bitcoin, at the time almost unknown. It was June 14, 2011, the value of a bitcoin was about 15€. “The eye of the storm” and the media resonance that Wikileaks gave to Bitcoin in those years certainly contributed to its discovery and diffusion.