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Thursday, January 09, 2014

Buying Pot (Legally) , Porn And Online Gaming With Bitcoins (This Is Huge)

Buying Pot (Legally)
Porn And
Online Gaming With Bitcoins






"These Are Three of The Largest Markets There Is And Bitcoin Is Now A Part Of Each"

Monty Henry, Owner
DPL-Surveillance-Equipment.com



Leading adult site Porn.com has started accepting bitcoin payments.





The site is one of the biggest adult entertainment operations on the Internet, if you don’t count illegal torrent sites. Porn.com currently accepts traditional credit card payments, PayPal and online cheques, along with bitcoin of course.

Bitcoin payments on adult sites are nothing uncommon, but Porn.com is by far the biggest service to embrace bitcoin. Most adult sites that accept bitcoin are tiny and easily dwarfed by Porn.com, as it is effectively an umbrella for heaps of smaller porn sites. The advantages of using bitcoin to pay for adult content are more or less obvious. People are not too keen to share their credit card data with small adult websites and they have perfectly good reasons aside from anonymity.

Although the word ‘reputable’ does not really apply to most adult sites, it is worth note that adult content is huge on the Internet. According to recent studies, adult content accounts for as much as 30% of total internet bandwidth. Adult websites attract more than 450 million unique visitors each month. Unsurprisingly men lead the way, but an estimated 30% of women also enjoy Internet porn.

Porn.com tapped BitPay to process bitcoin payments, which is not surprising given BitPay’s recent streak of successes. However, BitPay’s terms of service were a problem, as they specifically excluded certain businesses involved in the adult entertainment industry.

Tech veterans also like to point out that adult content has a weird way of affecting industry trends. They often cite video format wars as a prime example. BetaMax and HD-DVD were doomed after the adult industry chose to focus on VHS and Blu-Ray instead.

We are bound to hear similar arguments with respect to bitcoin, although they do not apply to the payments industry for a number of reasons. Still, when it comes to the adult industry it is hard to ignore some basic advantages offered by digital currencies compared to traditional payment methods, namely anonymity.


Adult Content Payment Processor Verotel Starts Accepting Bitcoin

BitPay scored another big victory in the adult entertainment market Friday, when adult payment services firm Verotel announced a pilot program to accept bitcoin. The Amsterdam-based firm, which services 50,000 companies, is using BitPay to service its high-risk clients.

Tony Gallippi, CEO of BitPay, said that the deal would significantly increase his company’s order volume. The specialist bitcoin payment processor currently has over 10,000 merchants. Verotel is a privately held company that doesn’t publish revenues, but industry estimates put its total net worth at around EUR25m ($34m).

Verotel has been in operation since 1998. It has experimented with alternative payment mechanisms in the past including quick-entry ‘pay by password’ systems. The big advantage for Bitpay is that the Verotel deal unlocks the porn payment firm’s entire merchant portfolio. That won’t happen until March 15th, however, when Verotel opens up the current limited beta test to the rest of its customers.

The difference with Verotel is that it doesn’t sell the content itself. Instead, it provides payment services for adult entertainment merchants. Given that Verotel is itself a payment processor, why would it need BitPay?

“They could do it themselves,” admitted Gallippi. “BitPay has three years of experience in processing bitcoin payments, which is the most in the world.  So a payment provider could add BitPay to their menu and make it available to their customers without reinventing the wheel.”

A Risky Business

The payments industry in the adult entertainment market is particularly challenging, thanks to the relatively high rate of fraud. Stolen credit cards are often used on adult sites by thieves eager to verify their usability by making small purchases. However, this isn’t the only threat; chargebacks, issued by adult website users with buyer’s remorse who cancel their payments, are another challenge.

Bitcoin can help payment processors to avoid chargeback problems, because it doesn’t allow users to renege on payments. Once bitcoins have been sent, it is impossible to retrieve them without the recipient’s consent.

Bitcoin may also reduce a customer’s motivation to revert a credit card payment, because unlike credit card payments, information about the purchase is not sent to a customer’s house on a statement. This increases the privacy for adult entertainment customers paying with the digital currency.

However, bitcoin also lacks a key feature traditionally valued by the adult entertainment industry: recurring billing. Many adult entertainment providers make their money by offering memberships, which are charged regularly to credit cards. “Recurring payments are currently not possible with bitcoin, because you can’t pull money from someone’s bitcoin address,” said Gallippi. This means that customers would have to pay manually for the content.


Estimates of the porn industry’s size vary, but Juniper Research figures have suggested that the global market for adult material on mobile devices alone would reach $2.8bn by next year, with subscriptions accounting for $1bn.







Social gaming giant Zynga has announced that it will be accepting bitcoin for in-app payments in selected games, as a “test” with payment processor BitPay. The move opens up $200m per quarter in potential markets for the digital currency.

The Zynga team account posted the following on reddit:

“The Bitcoin test is only available to Zynga.com players playing FarmVille 2, CastleVille, ChefVille, CoasterVille, Hidden Chronicles, Hidden Shadows and CityVille. The games can be accessed at http://zynga.com.

Zynga is always working to improve our customer experience by incorporating player feedback into our games. We look forward to hearing from our players about the Bitcoin test so we can continue in our efforts to provide the best possible gaming experience.”

Sources connected to BitPay and Zynga users quickly confirmed the announcement as true.

It might also be worth mentioning that Union Square Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz, who contributed to Zynga’s Series A and B funding rounds in 2008-09, also both have a stake in bitcoin payment processor and wallet service Coinbase.

Zynga is among a new generation of companies focused on social gaming. These games, which often piggyback on existing social networks, draw users into addictive play sessions, in which they can compete and collaborate with their friends.

Zynga’s revenue comes in two forms: direct payments in games, and revenue from partners. Direct payments are made inside games to buy assets that can help players to compete.

Reddit user ‘betafall’ posted this video showing the simplicity of making a bitcoin purchase within a Zynga game:


The firm also announced a push into real money gaming, releasing ZyngaPlusPoker and ZyngaPlusCasino in the UK in early 2013. In the US, it announced that it would pursue a real money gaming license, but in July, it backtracked on the decision, ending its real money gaming efforts in America.


Zynga has a turbulent history when it comes to the use of alternative currencies for in-app purchases. In 2010, the company reportedly threatened to end its relationship with Facebook after the social networking giant tried to force it into using its own virtual currency, the now-defunct Facebook Credits, for purchases inside its games. Had that deal gone ahead, Facebook would have pocketed 30% of all in-game payments made to Zynga on Facebook-hosted games.

The companies overcame their dispute and signed a five-year contract, but Zynga also started its own Zynga With Friends network, which connects players of its games from various platforms. It also created a Zynga API allowing developers to create social games on its network.

Founded in 2008, the company went public in December 2011. Last year was tough for Zynga – in July, figures emerged suggesting it had lost almost half of its user base in the course of a year.

Zynga’s casual, mobile-friendly market stands in contrast to the traditional console game market, in which sprawling, complex games often rival Hollywood movies in budget and production time. In the console sector, companies have moved away from virtual currency. Microsoft, for example, abandoned its Points system earlier this year, returning instead to straightforward fiat currency for purchases, made via credit cards.

Taking bitcoin as an in-game currency would bring several benefits, ventured Jeffrey Green, senior analyst at pymnts.com, who specializes in the payments business. “The benefits would be to give the user another payment option. Give the user what he wants, so to speak,” said Green, who wrote an analysis of virtual currencies launched by large online firms when at Mercator Advisory Group. He explained:

“The challenge would be the volatility of bitcoins and what their worth might be when exchanged for dollars. Volume wouldn’t be very high, but there likely will be gamers out there looking for something novel to try.”

There is also the commission to consider. PayPal charges commission on payments, and although big fish like Zynga may get a discount, bitcoin’s low-to-no transaction fees are difficult to argue with.

There are, however, negative aspects to using bitcoin for in-game payments. Notably, the virtual currency doesn’t yet allow for recurring payments, which could be useful in social gaming.



Pot Smokers In Colorado Pay For It Using Bitcoins





Colorado Marijuana Dispensary Uses Bitcoin to Evade Federal Laws

At least one marijuana dispensary in Colorado has reportedly begun accepting bitcoin.

Colorado’s decision to legalize cannabis has been filling headlines for weeks, and the hype is still going strong.

Investors have been piling up in the marijuana market, ranging from reputable medicinal marijuana companies to highly speculative penny stocks.

The general public seems to be very interested indeed – outside some dispensaries the queues of pot lovers are incredibly large, resembling the lines frequently formed in front of Apple Stores following an iPhone launch.

However, there are a number of problems. Demand has been so strong that many dispensaries are having trouble getting enough marijuana to sell, although this is likely a temporary issue.

Banks Playing It Safe

A somewhat bigger problem for dispensaries lurks in federal law. They cannot accept credit card payments, so all purchases must be in cash – or bitcoin.

“Federal law has forced marijuana dispensaries to accept cash, and cash only – but bitcoin is a tempting alternative.”

Bloomberg’s Matt Miller believes that this is because banks are simply not willing to enter the market, which is understandable.

Most US credit card companies are headquartered in Delaware rather than Colorado – and cannabis is still very much illegal in Joe Biden’s home state.

Banks and credit card companies are playing it safe. They must comply with federal legislation and although it might be possible to come up with a workaround, they do not appear interested at this point.

Federal law has forced dispensaries to accept cash, and cash only – but bitcoin is a tempting alternative. Anonymity does not matter, since recreational marijuana is legal in Colorado, but with no credit cards in the mix, it is practically the only alternative.

Sales of recreational marijuana in Colorado are reportedly exceeding $5m a week, and banks simply cannot enter the fray until regulators give them the green light.

Drugs, Cash And Prohibition

Some pundits are comparing Colorado’s decision to legalize marijuana to the demise of the 18th Amendment, which prohibited sales of alcohol in the US back in the roaring twenties.

When the 18th Amendment was enacted, the government lost a fair slice of tax revenue, but the prohibition also loosely coincided with the introduction of federal income tax in 1913. In other words, the government could afford to lose a bit of revenue in order to appease the temperance movement.

The prohibition did not work, as it forced millions of Americans to break the law on a daily basis, becoming scofflaws. It also ushered in a golden era for organized criminals running rum from the Caribbean, whisky from Canada or distilling potentially deadly bathtub ‘moonshine’.

The 18th Amendment was repealed at a time when the US needed as much tax revenue as possible, just as the country was starting to emerge from the Great Depression.

Bitcoin’s critics like to point out that digital currencies are often used for illicit transactions, like buying illegal drugs. This is, of course, the case with practically every currency on the planet.

Drugs are the reason why the largest denomination of the US dollar is the Ben Franklin-themed $100 bill.The Nixon administration discontinued all larger denominations in 1969, arguing that the move would make it more difficult for drug traffickers to transport and launder their profits.

Bitcoin Boom

There are about 350 licensed dispensaries in Colorado, and many analysts believe annual marijuana revenue could be as much as $500m, which is relatively high for a population of 5.2 million people (no pun intended).

The National Cannabis Industry Association predicts medical marijuana sales of $250m, along with more than $200m in recreational sales. Nationwide, the government-regulated marijuana market is expected to double to $2.3bn.

With as much as half a billion dollars up for grabs, banks will no doubt try to enter the market, but this may not be as easy as it seems. For example, if they get an exemption, the next administration might simply revoke it.

However, Colorado may have a vested interest in getting banks on board. In other words, bitcoin has a chance, but banks will inevitably crack the market sooner or later.

The state wants to raise $70m in tax revenue from cannabis sales this year. However, the figure may end up even higher due to high demand (pun intended).


Buying marijuana for recreational use now is legal in Colorado—and paying for it with Bitcoin is a no-brainer.

The official rules of Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc.  prohibit the use of their debit and credit cards for marijuana purchases, but some Colorado merchants are allowing customers to use them anyway.

Visa said in a statement that it follows federal law and tries to prevent the network from being used unlawfully. 

A spokesman for MasterCard said the company considers marijuana card purchases to be illegal.

The card conundrum is just one of numerous issues that accompany the legal use of marijuana—from how to determine if motorists are driving under the influence of pot to whether an employer can fire a worker who tests positive for marijuana that was obtained legally.

It also underscores the complex and outdated nature of the card industry, which relies on a maze of companies each time a consumer swipes a credit or debit card. While major banks and other big processors refuse to handle marijuana transactions for merchants, a flurry of independent bitcoin-based companies are stepping up.

The issue has been gathering steam in recent years as more states permit the use of medical marijuana. But it has taken on even greater significance since Colorado became the first state to allow recreational marijuana use on Jan. 1.

The banking industry has been pushing government agencies to provide guidance on how to oversee bank accounts for businesses that sell marijuana legally under state law. The Justice Department is drafting legal guidance for banks, according to people familiar with the matter, but the agency's planned memo won't draw clear lines about what banks can and can't do.






Instead, the Justice Department will emphasize that prosecutors' priorities will be to go after businesses that use local retail marijuana sales as part of a larger criminal activity, such as diverting pot to states where it is still illegal, according to a person familiar with the draft. The person said the language of the document is still being revised and could take weeks or months until it is finalized.

Such a general framework isn't likely to satisfy many in the financial sector, said some banking industry representatives.

In Colorado, mom-and-pop companies in some cases are circumventing the way traditional transactions are processed to avoid the Visa and MasterCard networks, even though customers are using cards with those brands. The transactions essentially take place using bitcoins instead.

"It's like when salmon can't swim in one direction, they'll figure out another way to go up the river," says Chris Mills.

"Some people just don't want to carry cash," Mr. Betts says. The shop is in the final stages of being licensed to sell recreational marijuana.

The card networks don't follow the same type of "know-your-customer" rules as banks. Instead, they set rules that are to be followed by the companies that process card transactions on behalf of merchants.

American Express Co. appears to be taking a tougher stance. The card network, which also issues its own cards, recently blocked transactions from a provider that advertised its ability to set marijuana merchants up so they could accept all major credit and debit cards.

"We monitor websites to help make sure that the policy is being enforced," an AmEx spokesman said.

Companies that process marijuana transactions also can circumvent Visa and MasterCard rules by logging a marijuana purchase as a more innocuous-seeming bitcoin transaction.

The broad acceptance of bitcoin could eventually be a big boost for the industry, which is eager to convert everyday purchases using bitcoin. Colorado marijuana shop owners estimated that they rang up $1 million in sales on New Year's Day, the first day recreational pot became legal.

People love the option of paying with bitcoin.


Monty Henry, Owner














Some of Our Latest Articles:


Mixing Services Add Complete (NSA-Proof) Anonymity To Bitcoin Transactions






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DPL-Surveillance-Equipment.com is a world leader in providing surveillance and security products and services to Government, Law Enforcement, Private Investigators, small and large companies worldwide. We have one of the largest varieties of state-of-the-art surveillance and counter-surveillance equipment including Personal Protection and Bug Detection Products.



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