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How long before sex workers and escort services in the US and Europe start accepting payments via services like Venmo and PayPal, and currencies such as Bitcoin, instead of cash? In New York, appointments with call girls and escort agent employees are often arranged online, and digital transactions have become more common. When PayPal opened its virtual doors in , some of its first customers were those working in the sex industry.
But in recent years, the eBay owned company has been noticeably cracking down. She says that many people she knows have had their accounts disabled because PayPal found out about their business. As an alternative, she points out that prepaid MasterCard and Visa gift cards are becoming more popular. William says he uses cash percent of the time, although he would use Bitcoin if it were on offer. And north-west of London in Birmingham, they are even taking Bitcoin and Litecoin. Once the payment is processed, Passion VIP confirms the appointment, eliminating any stress around payment, theft or counterfeit on either side of the transaction.
For many sex workers, digital payment options have made transactions fast, straightforward and discreet. But payment methods such as PayPal, Square or any credit card means there will be a record.
And given the fact that, legal or not, at the end of the day, prostitution is something that most husbands, wives, families, girlfriends and members of the general population are not particularly fond of, cash is still the most popular way to pay for items off the books. For the sex industry, PayPal and Venmo will never replace cash. But cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Litcoin that offer anonymity just might. Read next: Why it might be time for Twitter to start filtering your feed.