Today we will talk about something a little out of order on this site: pr0n.
So, yesterday I was browsing Reddit as I usually do on my spare time and noticed that someone posted the link of a website with free sex cams (or however they are called); asking the users about how it could be improved in one of the subreddits I follow (don't remember which one).
I had never explored this kind of content before, but a friend of mine pitched a similar business idea to me the other day, so I went in there to see what all that fuss it's about... Now, I'm not a porn-savvy guy (my thing it's more like tinder and real life women as I grew up with dial-up internet); So bear with me as I describe my experience to you (and how it induced this bitcoin epiphany on me):
NOTE: This post isn't going to be actually NSFW (or so I hope!) so you don't actually have to worry about who's around when you're reading it, promise.
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet "hottkaty"
|She looks like a funny Sims character, doesn't she?|
In a very rough way, cams are like women zoos where people "feed them" tips to "do fun stuff" (like taking their clothes off).
So, I'll give it to you straight: For me, cams felt like a zoo. I mean, girls just sit there in the privacy of their rooms where nobody can see or disturb them (IRL), and then start streaming. Horny people arrive and send them tips (called "tokens" in this particular website) so the fun can get started. As you can see from the screenshot above, girls set "goals" for the things people might request. If a cam it's very new or "a ghost town" the girl might start dancing like in the screenshot for free in order to attract/tease males or encourage them to start tipping for more. (most experienced camgirls seem to stop doing this as they build an audience, only staring at their screens in front of the keyboard waiting for their tip demands to be satisfied first).
Girls with large audiences (or with seemingly some time on the site) seem to develop a personal brand around them, Most girls don't talk (apart from the occasional "thanks user1234!" when tipped/flattered) but other girls talk about regular topics like movies and their life in a very open way (while nude/teasy); fulfilling incoming requests as users tip them. Other girls seem to engage in some sort of games (like drinking games or so) to make their cam more entertaining.
Finally, girls (called "models" on this specific site) can do "group shows" and "private sessions" I don't know what these are, but everytime a girl engaged in one of these two activities their cam "turned off" marking them busy "in a private session/group show". I think it is safe to asume that users pay a premium/fee for these kind of stuff, where the girl does more intense feats. I think on group shows girls become like musicians fulfilling specific requests from a select crowd (think like, unplugged shows) and private sessions are more like a 1-1 thing (think backstage, maybe?).
So, enough with my cam site review, let's get to the important stuff: When I saw all of this, I wondered many things and couldn't stop thinking about the fact that most of them are normal girls liike any of my female friends or dates... However, at the privacy of their rooms when they're alone, they earn money secretely as if they where strippers. They just tag their bodyparts with a price in "tokens" and then wait in there for hours 'til the audience arrives to keep encouraging them with more money. I was "alienated" by this realization, I mean, look at her! so peaceful browsing other profiles or writting on the chat with that chill Sims character look on her face:
|She's a college student struggling to pay one of those college loans.|
They doesn't need to go make a dubious "modeling" casting or engage in umconfortable sexual scenarios they might not be ok with in order to earn money.
The impactful thing here isn't what she's doing (streaming naked for a bunch of random people) or the fact that she's earning money "like a stripper" but the fact that she's participating inside a microeconomy that feeds from (or it's part of) the porn industry: There, alone at her room, armed only with a webcam and a smile. She doesn't need to go make a dubious "modeling" casting or engage in umconfortable sexual scenarios she might not be ok with in order to earn money. She just have to turn the cam on, wait for a few minutes 'til the "clients" arrive (obviously applying some marketing hooks of sorts) hang in there a couple of hours and bingo, the tip jar fills little by little 'til it reaches a substantial amount.
As I said before, I'm not that into porn, but I understand the overall attractiveness of this kind of business:
We can all agree it's a stupid thing to stare at a webcam for hours as these girls do (or watch someone live for hours as their viewers do too) but, as people wanna see more, registered users tip with their money and then the overall audience enjoys. As IRL, girls set the boundries, so many times if someone wants to see masturbation or specifically requested stuff they have to pay more (become premium) and engage in group or private sessions, which (I guess) have a greater economic benefit for the "model". This private/group sessions are closed to guests/unpaid members and as we've seen with many startups over the years (such as facebook) the idea of "elitism/selectiveness" generates curiosity and morbid thoughts, a desire to belong if you will. It is also not far fetched to think that many of these girls are on many different sites with different kind of "branding" so their followers know what (and where) is going to be the monday show, the tuesday show, the wednesday show and so on...
Porn it's an addiction (or has the potential to become one) both for those who only consume it (Guest Audience in this case); as for those who encourage it (Registered/Paying Members) and also for the Cam Girl, who (if she manages to stablish a successful "brand" and earns good money) will hardly stop streaming over the years and as we know, there are not many things that are so lucrative as addictions.
Talking about lucrative stuff, there were girls with 1915 viewers online tipping and tipping and tipping them (ones many times actually) without them doing anything. A girl happened to know a user IRL and this guy was tipping her a lot just for calling him for his real name instead of his username... Imagine if every one of them tipped the girl $1 USD, that's $1915 USD in... what? 1-3 hrs!? There is a chance the site keeps a share of the model's earnings but that might not be the case, and even if it were, let's suppose the model gets $0.75 for every dollar she earns, that's $1436 USD for her still (and almost $479 USD for the site in just that short period of time for just that model's stream BTW). Even if the girl made only $100 dollars per an 1-3 hours stream it is still a good deal for her, that's like... (a waitress shift?) in a fraction of the time with little to no effort, so... yeah.
Enter the IoT and Bitcoin
Autonomous dishwashers (in the future) might not need tech-guys for repair, they'll need bitcoin-purchased hotfixes and upgrades, just like videogames DLC's.
The important part of these microeconomies is that they're the perfect fit for Bitcoin. Services like Changetip are a proof about that. Today most of these economies are centered around content. Blog posts, videos, (cams in this case), podcasts... Users seem to like endorsing the content creators they cherish with small tips, and content creators are therefore incentivized to continue producing quality content for their audiences.
As I said, Nowdays most of these economies are centered around content and gratitude, freemium & selectiveness; But in the future when the Internet of Things becomes an every day topic for almost every household on earth, it doesn't seem too far fetched to think that the manufacturers might not bother to send you a tech-guy to repair your autonomous dishwasher anymore and instead, they'll charge you a fee over an app on your smartphone to deploy/upload a hotfix for the machine via the internet. Same thing would happen when you'd like to upgrade/add features (think videogame DLC's but in everyday use machines).
Nowdays these kind of deployments (just as the DLC and videogame patches/expansions examples) are a little bit "expensive" in many cases but that's just because they're targeted to a very specific niche at "medium scale", they're not a macro consumer product per sé. These future hotfixes and upgrades I'm talking about are going to be cheap simply because millions of people will be purchasing them at very low prices (making manufacturers earn a lot of money in the process), and it also isn't too far fetched to think that they might be doing so with bitcoin because in today's world many families have access to a washing machine and a smartphone, but not a credit card. It seems "just natural" for companies to create service apps where people can have underlying bitcoin wallets without their explicit knowledge (think "credits") that they can load up with cash going to any convenience store near them so they can buy hotfixes and upgrades for their internet-enabled machines.
So... What do you think? Do you think a "remote everything" macroeconomy powered by bitcoin it's feasible? Let me know in the comments down below and if you liked the article, don't forget to tip me at changetip:
P.S. For those of you who might have recognized the image at the beginning of the article, here's an interesting video about Cicada 3301, The Internet's most secret organization...