SpankPay, a crypto monetization service for adult performers that touted itself as “the easiest way for models and merchants to accept crypto and claim financial freedom,” has decided to shut down after failing to find a new upstream payments processor.
The service that was once envisioned as a safe haven for NSFW content creators and their fans blamed prejudice against the adult industry for its “targeted shutdown.” In a tweet announcing the closure, SpankPay assured users that their funds are safe and will get back to them as soon as possible.
In February, SpankPay was forced to indefinitely suspend payments on the platform after its previous provider Wyre terminated its agreement with the adult entertainment service, citing “violations of any third-party payment processor or network rules.” Since then, SpankChain has been looking for other options but hasn’t been able to find the right replacement.
“Other service providers that we explored also rejected us due to being in the adult industry. Operating SpankPay in a hostile banking environment has always been challenging, but the escalating attacks have become untenable for our small team and the niche market we serve,” the company tweeted.
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SpankChain said that its relationship with Wyre has been supportive and respectful — and asserted that it was a “targeted shutdown.” And given how traditional banks increasingly turn their backs on the adult industry, these claims do not seem ungrounded: in October 2021, content subscription service OnlyFans announced plans to suspend sexually explicit content to please the banks — namely JPMorgan, BNY Mellon, and Britain's Metro Bank — that demanded the company to purge pornography from the platform. After immense backlash, OnlyFans reversed its new policy — but not before many models have already moved to other platforms.
Earlier in December 2020, the world’s largest adult website Pornhub announced that it would accept crypto only as its default payment for its premium service after Visa and Mastercard cut off payments to the platform.
SpankChain, an Ethereum-based adult entertainment platform, launched SpankPay in August 2019. The crypto payment processor supported multiple cryptocurrencies — including Bitcoin, Ether, Monero, Zcash, Litecoin, and DAI — and charged merchants only a 0.5% transaction fee.
“SpankPay can no longer exist under this discrimination, but SpankChain will continue to support the community and build tools we need. We are fully committed to making a legislative change to secure our financial futures,” Allie Ewe Knox, an adult performer and SpankChain advisor, tweeted in a farewell message to the service.
“More education, more activism, more community engagement, more support, more building,” Knox stated, outlining the to-do list for SpankChain.
On December 8, Knox joined SpankChain founder Ameen Soleimani and a group of delegates from the Free Speech Coalition (FSC) in Washington, D.C. to discuss banking fairness for the adult industry with House and Senate officials.
“We are now engaged in a process that could create stable banking for the adult industry and its workers, and hopefully end the predatory fees charged by credit cards and financial services. In the coming weeks, we’ll be working to better document the issues faced by our members, in order to provide both stories and clear data to the legislators on the scope of the issue,” FSC stated at the time.