Autor Cointelegraph By Andrew Fenton

Boston nurse fired for nudes on OnlyFans launches crypto porn app

Former Boston ICU nurse Allie Rae made international news in August last year after she was fired for running an extremely naughty Only Fans account on the side. The story appeared everywhere from the NY Post, to CNN, The Daily Beast — and she even made an appearance on Dr Phil.The resulting publicity saw fans subscribing in droves and the 37-year old mother of three now makes more than $200,000 a month.But the same sort of moralizing and censorship that ended her nursing career also threatens her newfound wealth from Only Fans. Just six days after her story was made public, Only Fans announced it would ban “sexually explicit” content, under pressure from its banking partners.   “When the news broke about the payment processing and OnlyFans I began looking at other platforms to switch to, and quickly realized they too could fall into the same trap down the road,” Rae says on the line from her new home in crypto friendly Florida.“It was at that time that I figured out crypto was the answer.”She’s assembled a team of 20 developers and is putting the finishing touches on a new Only Fans meets Instagram style crypto-powered social platform called WetSpace. It’s due to launch in beta in February, accepting payments in a range of stablecoins across different chains to mitigate issues with gas fees. NFT support will come in the project’s second stage mid-year.Porn has long been seen as one of the best chances crypto has for adoption: Users can remain anonymous and performers don’t have to deal with payment processors charging them high fees or unilaterally cutting off services under opaque morality clauses.Despite this, as Magazine discovered in the past, crypto payments have failed to take off. Pornhub tried and failed with Verge, then moved to using Pumapay’s service, which was crippled by high gas fees on Ethereum and is in the process of relaunching on Binance Smart Chain. Spankchain attempted a more modest platform targeting crypto users but has had limited success so far, though it’s still in the game and is developing ‘SpankPay V2’ based on user feedback. Cumrocket is developing an NFT marketplace but reports limited availability of its CUMMIES tokens on exchanges.Rae believes a major problem is trying to launch projects with related adult tokens. “I had been watching the fall of other ‘adult shit coins’ and how their model was destined to fail serving two masters — creators and holders. That is when WetSpace came about.”Rae points out that adult coins add an extra step to the process and most are very volatile which isn’t attractive to users or models. “So I thought,’ Well we don’t need a coin, like, why go through all the drama of this coin? Of course, you’d get a lot of money up front, and it would definitely help fund your project. But luckily, I didn’t need to be concerned about the financial side of it, because I had the money to put into it.”How she got hereThe mother of three teenage sons, Rae is an unlikely porn star turned crypto entrepreneur. She joined the Navy at 17 and married husband Steven the following year (he sometimes stars in her videos). She then worked for five years in marketing, management and real estate, before getting her dream job in nursing. “I was obsessed,” she says. “I was a straight A nursing student, it was truly my passion and still is, it really is.”Rae received a Masters in Nursing Education and specialized in Neonatal Intensive Care, nursing sick babies back to health. “Even though it was such a tragic time for so many families there were also so many great moments,” she says. “I was a wonderful NICU nurse very, very good at my job.”But bored at home during the pandemic, she started up an Instagram account posting about hockey and craft beer. This attracted a devoted male following, some of whom suggested she start an Only Fans. When she read news reports that the actress Bella Thorne had made $1M on the platform in a single day, she decided to take their advice.“I posted a few pictures and I really actually had kind of fun with it. It was quite liberating, you know, at my age and before you knew it, I had so many subscribers and we were actually making good money on there.”By the end of her first month she’d made $6,900 — more than the $6,500 she was paid as a nurse.Unfortunately for Rae not everyone is a fan of Only Fans and a group of six of what she calls her “mean girl” colleagues, led by a Pastor’s wife, stumbled across her Instagram and then screenshotted her Only Fans content for management.News spread like wildfire through the hospital and that was “ultimately what I think drove management to have to act.”“Their overall consensus was that it was now such a distraction on the unit, with everybody knowing, that if I was going to continue to do that, I couldn’t work there,” she adds.“I wasn’t mentally ready to leave, I’ll tell you it was very difficult. There’s a lot of tears shed in that. But I think given how toxic the environment and how judged I felt there, I wasn’t looked at the same, it was probably the right thing to do.”Tailor made for the mediaFiring an ICU nurse in the middle of a pandemic due to her porny Only Fans account is an editor’s wet dream (not Magazine of course, we’re strictly interested in the future of finance) and the story went viral. She went from making $35K a month from her side hustle to $200K a month thanks to the publicity. Steven gave up his airline job to help full time with the business.“Our success was just unbelievable and so it became hard to not make it a priority,” she says. “It’s crazy to go from being a suburban hockey mom slash nurse to now I’m like this advocate for the sex industry. I mean, it’s very, very different.”Porn paymentsPart of that advocacy is trying to figure out a way for creators and operators to escape the stranglehold that traditional payment processors have on it. In recent years the war on adult sites by payment processors has ramped up, supported by the emotive campaigns of anti-porn crusaders.A case in point in the famed New York Times piece in December 2020 called The Children of Pornhub. Columnist Nicholas Kristof sensationally claimed the “site is infested with rape videos. It monetizes child rapes, revenge pornography, spy cam videos of women showering, racist and misogynist content, and footage of women being asphyxiated in plastic bags.” He argued the site facilitated sex trafficking and cited a petition with 2.1 million signatures calling for it to be closed.Often mistakenly referred to as an investigation, the NYT billed the piece as “opinion” meaning its usual standards of fact checking don’t apply. Mashable summed up the piece as being based on the “dubious and distorted findings and arguments of one anti-sex work conservative group”. It caused a massive backlash and MasterCard and Visa quickly announced they would no longer provide services to Pornhub, threatening the viability of the tie.The deplatforming of sex sites by payment companies has ramped up considerably in recent years, following the passing of the controversial  FOSTA-SESTA (Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act and the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act) in 2018.Rae’s first encounter with the issue, came when Only Fans caused outrage in August last year by announcing it would ban ‘sexually explicit’ content, threatening the livelihoods of 2 million creators making $2.3 billion a year. Founder and CEO of OnlyFans Tim Stokely blamed BNY Mellon, Metro Bank, and JPMorgan Chase for refusing to process payments, though the ban was quickly reversed after “banking partners’ assurances that OnlyFans can support all genres of creators.”“A lot of people at that time were reaching out to me, what do you think about this? Oh, my gosh, where are you going? You’re making so much money. Now where are you going to put your content?” she recalls.Rae explains that she’d considered other platforms but realized competitors “are at the mercy of the banks as well.”“That’s when my brain really got to turn on to: what is the solution to this?,” she says.  “At that time, I didn’t fully understand the nature of what was going on. But I did a lot of research and I started to really dive into the dark, you know, part of what’s going on in terms of the big financial institutions.”“Porn is always looked at as taboo. There’s a stigma out there. But the amount of control that these banking industries have, over every platform that runs primarily on fiat, is scary.”CounterpointShe argues that Only Fans gives creators a safer way to work in the sex industry than in a strip club or on the streets. And while she believes in taking firm action against sex trafficking and child pornography, she says those aims are only selectively pursued by payment processors.A 2020 survey from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children revealed Facebook had 20.3 million reported incidents of child sexual abuse materials, Google had 546,704 incidents, Twitter had 65,062, Snapchat 144,095, and TikTok 22,692.Way down the bottom of the list was Pornhub’s parent company MindGeek with 13,000.“Facebook literally is the leader in child sex trafficking, and they’re definitely not shutting them down,” she says. “How much of it is in regards to them just truly wanting to get rid of the people in this industry (porn) and ban this type of content — is it really about child trafficking?”“The banks are the issue across the board. And the only natural solution to that is well, how do we get rid of the banks? Well, luckily, there’s decentralization, and there’s crypto.”Crypto and the porn industryRae had dabbled in crypto previously, making a bundle off of Dogecoin when Elon Musk’s tweets drove it to the moon, and playing around with creating her own NFTs when Cumrocket launched its NSFW NFT marketplace in mid-2021.She says the anonymity of crypto is perfect for users who want to sign up but can’t afford to have an Only Fans entry on their bank statements.“I get DMs all the time saying ‘God, I wish I could join Only Fans. But you know, I just can’t have my accountant seeing all the charges.’” There’s a huge market that a lot of creators aren’t able to tap into.The WetSpace interface will look a lot like Instagram with a feed, a discovery feature for creators and later on, a marketplace enabling models to sell NFTs with added bonuses like free subscriptions, premium snaps or video chats. WetSpace will charge creators 15% (Only Fans charges 20%) and they can select which cryptocurrencies to accept. They receive the money instantly and don’t have to worry about chargebacks.Rae says it’s about 90% complete right now, with new features being added all the time.“We have a Discord (forum) that’s really poppin, lots of creators saying, Hey, are we gonna have this? Can we do this? And I’m like, ‘Yes, we’re gonna have so many great things.’ I think it’s going to be a fun place to be for the user and the creator. And I’m excited and I hope it revolutionizes this entire industry.”Yeah, but …While there’s no doubting her ambitions, so far though crypto payments in porn haven’t really worked out. In early 2020, Spankchain performer and ambassador Allie Eve Knox explained to Magazine why:“These are old dudes that are just trying to get off and then now they have to go through this whole thing of creating a wallet, saving a seed phrase, getting crypto, moving it into a wallet. […] It’s not just ‘I’m gonna go buy porn in 15 minutes and relieve myself’ process.”Rae however believes times have changed and that the tech is more widespread and user friendly than ever before. She concedes the biggest hurdle will be helping noobs get started, but there will be step by step explainers and guides on how to buy crypto through a connected Coinbase, Metamask or Trust wallet.“I want very, very clear clicks: like ‘sign up for your wallet here’ step-by-step because I do understand it is a learning curve. We are putting a lot of time and money into the educational side of this. Because it truly is really easy once you get going.”“Crypto is in your face everywhere now. A couple of years ago, people would laugh at you if you talked about Bitcoin, people were like, Oh, God, one of those Bitcoin people! And look at it now. It’s an actual currency. I think a lot of people who didn’t believe in it before are definitely starting to be like, Okay, what is this all about? And they’re wanting to know more.”“There’s no doubt in my mind, it will be a very, very big part of pornography, or any type of subscription base for adult content,” she says. “I don’t think it’s going away.”

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The Vitalik I know: Dmitry Buterin

This is part two of an extensive interview with Dmitry Buterin, looking at his relationship with Vitalik and his insights as a father. For Part 1, which detailed his own fascinating life story, click here. Dmitry Buterin recalls the day in 2013 when his son Vitalik showed him the Ethereum white paper at their home in Toronto.“He‘s like, ‘Hey Dad, I was working on this thing, are you interested to look at it?’” the Chechyna-born Toronto resident says in his idiosyncratic accent. Vitalik had dropped out of university a year before to travel the world and, within a month of arriving home, he‘d written the first draft.Even though Dmitry famously introduced his son to Bitcoin two years earlier, he admits many of the details went right over his head. But, he understood the wider vision.“One of his skills is he can take something very very complex and he can explain it really well,” he says.“So, even though I was only superficially knowledgeable about Bitcoin and all the crytpo stuff, when I read this document I was like, ‘wow, this makes a lot of sense to me.’ So, I was quite excited.”Satoshi Nakamoto intentionally limited the complexity of transactions on the Bitcoin network and Vitalik‘s great realization was that if he designed an evolution of Bitcoin in a Turing complete programming language, it could potentially offer every conceivable digital service via the blockchain, from the stock market to building decentralized cooperatives. Dmtiry says the invention of Bitcoin had been a “huge leap” and that the next leap could only be built atop of it.“For me, it really resonated as a very simple analogy, right?” He says, “Because I observed the growth of internet, it started with static HTML websites and it was all interesting, but very limited.”“But, JavaScript came online and then all other scripting languages and things changed. So for me, it was very clear that Ethereum was the same magnitude of change as going from static kind of simple stuff to having Turing complete scripting, then the sky’s the limit.”He adds further: “And yes, it‘s very complicated and risky and there are security issues and whatnot. But, you can do anything.”Vitalik was interested in building Lego block chains early on. (Supplied)Vitalik struggled as a public figureAlthough Vitalik had the far sighted vision that turned into a cryptocurrency worth half a trillion dollars, explaining the concept and forging a coalition of like-minded people to help develop it forced him to become a public figure — a role that did not come naturally. “That was actually quite difficult for him,” Dmitry says.“I could see that and he struggled, especially the first couple years because he is a person who has a, if you will, very kind and sensitive nature — well meaning. And he‘s like, ‘Oh now I’m trying to do this and why are all these people building these websites which ridicule me?‘”But, he adds that the challenges helped Vitalik to grow in emotional intelligence.“Through all the public speaking and interacting with so many people and all the traveling that he has done, now the world can see much more of the Vitalik that I know and his family knows: This very kind, sensitive and fun guy versus just kind of some smart guy with a lot of smart ideas talking about blockchain and stuff.”Dmitry Buterin has a great relationship with his son Vitalik.Back to the beginningNow a successful businessman who semi-retired in 2017 after the SaaS business he founded, Wild Apricot, was sold, Dmitry says it was obvious from very early on that there was something unique and special about Vitalik. Dmitry, being of a philosophical bent, would no doubt add that there‘s something unique and special about every child, but Vitalik was in a category of his own.His birth in 1994 had been something of a happy surprise. Dmitry was a 21-year old student at the time living in Kolomna, Russia with Vitalik‘s mother, Natalia Amelineas, as the former Soviet Union fell apart. While Dmitry had himself been a bright child who had learned to read by three and a half, he says Vitalik began reading “quite a way before that.”But, great gifts come with their own issues, too, and Vitalik took longer than usual to become comfortable with speaking.“It was kind of obvious that he had some really interesting capabilities,” says Dmitry.“But also, every child who has very powerful brain has all kinds of other things like nervous tics and things like that. So, there are a lot of things that to deal with — their communication is different.”When Vitalik was six, Dmitry, his new partner Maia and former wife Natalia all moved to Canada in search of a better life.The move to the other side of the globe threw the young Vitalik into a strange and unfamiliar territory. Until then, Vitalik had been mostly raised by Natalia and Dmitry, along with her parents.“They helped out a lot, but they were adamant about not sending him to childcare. So, when he arrived to Canada, he had to go childcare in different language and whatnot. So, it was a big and somewhat painful transition for him.”this is so weird, cringy and silly, so lovely!— Dima ButΞrin (@BlockGeekDima) November 29, 2021Fast track to successVitalik‘s potential was noticed early on, and by the third grade, he‘d been placed into a class for gifted children where he began to develop his interests in mathematics, programming and economics. The young Buterin was able to add three digit numbers in his head “ten times” faster anyone else. People started to refer to him as a math genius by grade five or six.A seminal Wired profile from 2014 described him as autistic wunderkind who had learned to speak fluent Mandarin in just a few months: “Which is bullshit,” notes Dmitry. It “took much longer.” Co-founder Joseph Lubin (later of ConsenSys fame) described Vitalik at the time as “a genius alien that had arrived on this planet to deliver the sacrosanct gift of decentralization.”Like other highly intelligent people, Dmitry says Vitalik understands the world in a different way to the average person, which affects how they interact and socialize.“When you‘re smart, your mind is much better at creating models of everything and forecasting different things,” he says. “And, that works quite well about a lot of things. But, it doesn’t work that well with humans:”“You‘ve become way too reliant on your thinking mind and not so much on your sensing mind. Your thinking mind, however powerful, will mess up because human emotions are infinitely more complex than with any kind of analytical model you can imagine.”Despite this challenge, he says Vitalik started to come out of his shell when he began attending a private high school called Abelard School.“I think that he really blossomed when he went into high school,” he says. “He went to this little private school that made a big impact on him, he really opened up.”But, the Vitalik we now know was really born online. He may be called a Russian-Canadian on Wikipedia, but he was raised as a product of internet culture.“He actually learned how to connect with people online and build the connections and whatnot,” he says. “And, that‘s kind of when he entered the whole crypto and Bitcoin space.”“He actually developed a lot of relationships online with other enthusiasts,” says Dmitry. “And that‘s another way we use social skills, just in a very different way than in face to face.”Dmitry and Vitalik play a game of chess (Source: Twitter)Enter the BitcoinDmitry is reluctant to take credit for his son‘s successes, but he certainly played a key role by introducing his son to Bitcoin. He first tried and failed to get his son interested in hacking, which he describes as “how do you take a complex system and make it do something else that it wasn’t designed to do?”Part of the father-son dynamic was that whenever Dmitry got interested in something, he liked to try and pass it on to Vitlaik.“Vitalik also has a very curious mind. So, all of my life, especially as he was growing up, I‘ve been just trying to feed him a lot of interesting things and see what resonates.”Dmitry himself learned Bitcoin after hearing about it on a cybersecurity podcast in 2011.“I‘m like, oh, wow, this definitely sounds like very interesting technology that has some potentially big implications. But, I cannot say that, at the time, I‘ve had really much clarity about how big the implications of that were,” he says.As a self professed “techno optimist,” Dmitry has always been fascinated by technology and feeds his range of interests — from AI and futurism to libertarianism and spiritualism — through voracious reading.One formative influence was the scientist and inventor Ray Kurzweil who “wrote a bunch of books about the progress of technology and made a bunch of very optimistic forecasts about the future.”“He was one of my biggest influences in my early 20s. When I read his books, I actually gave them to Vitalik as well. Recently, I ended up getting in touch him through some friend and he actually sent some of his books that I read with Vitlaik 15 to 20 years ago. He sent signed copies to me, which was nice.”Dmitry Buterin is a funny and philosophical man.When it comes to hacking, Dmitry explains that he failed to get Vitalik interested in the concept, as other things were more appealing. He passed copies of the Hacker Quarterly ‘2600’ Magazine to him, as well as books by the famous ‘90s convicted hacker Kevin Mitnick, who spent two years on the run from the FBI.“He didn’t really get interested that much in hacking as such, but the cryptography really resonated with him. And you know, he read a whole bunch of books about cryptography and the math behind it. So, when I told him about Bitcoin, it was a very fertile object for his mind to chew on, if you will.”While his 17-year-old son initially dismissed the concept of a currency with no intrinsic value being doomed to fail, he came back to it after quitting his World of Warcraft obsession when he needed something else to occupy his time.Being a penniless student, he couldn‘t afford to buy Bitcoin or mine any, so he began writing posts for a blog for 5 BTC per article. This led to a gig as a head writer for Bitcoin Magazine, which he juggled while studying five advanced courses at the University of Waterloo and working part time as a research assistant for a cryptographer.It was as a journalist that he covered a Bitcoin conference in San Jose California in May 2013, where the Winklevoss Twins and others talked up this new tech revolution as something that could be as significant as the birth of the internet. Excited by the potential, he decided to embrace the opportunity with both hands and drop out of college at the end of the semester to pursue it full time.Vitalik, Dmitry and Natalia shortly after they moved to Toronto (Supplied).Dad, I‘m dropping outDmitry recalls the day Vitalik visited to tell him of the plan.“I actually do remember that day when he came from university. Actually, his mom was in our house visiting, so when he came in all three of us were here, myself, Maia and Natalia. And then he mentioned, ‘Hey, guys, I‘m actually thinking of dropping out,’” he says.“And it was really interesting. All three of us had a very similar reaction that we supported him because we all knew that he‘s a very bright wonderful young adult and, if he drops out, he will be totally fine.”“So, he dropped out and went for the whole trip around the world and got involved with a bunch of things.”Dmitry met Vitalik‘s step mom Maia in Russia in “1995 or 1996.” The pair got married in 2004 but separated a couple of years ago. He says she played a big role in Vitalik‘s upbringing.“Maia was a huge influence on Vitlaik because he was growing up with the two of us mostly and then he was seeing his mom regularly whenever she was able to visit Toronto,” he says, adding that she later moved nearby, so they saw each other often.Dmitry explains that it was essentially as if Vitalik had three parents.“Pretty much, it‘s nice. I think it was a couple of years ago when we were having some kind of family dinner, and Vitalik was here. He stood up and said that he is really grateful that in his life he has so many awesome people close to him and he said ‘I have my mom and I have you Maia,’ I don’t remember the words he used. But, you know, he was very genuine and very sincere.”Read more: Meet Dmitry: Co-founder of Ethereum’s creator Vitalik ButerinMeet Dmitry: Co-founder of Ethereum’s creator Vitalik Buterin

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