Backpage Sues Chicago Sheriff

Backpage.com is taking Chicago sheriff, Thomas Dart to federal court. The business is suing the Cook County official for his campaign to get Visa and Mastercard to deny them service. So far the sheriff was quite successful as both credit companies ended their service with the adult magazine.

On July 21, Backpage filed suit against Dart for his involvement with censoring their business. The company says that this action by Dart and his followers has crippled their rights to free speech. The complaint reads that the sheriff “ achieved his purpose through false accusations. Accusations such as illegal sex services, prostitution, and under age sex victims have been thrown at the company by Dart and many activists groups.

Backpage has been at the center of this controversy for years, as many groups accuse the company of not regulating its practices. The company denies this claim, it says it works with law enforcement to help fight prostitution and under age entry into the industry. They feel that if adult pages are banned that these victims will be forced into the dark markets online.American Express was the first to shut off its services to the adult page, before Dart started his campaign. After targeting Backpage and successfully getting Mastercard and Visa to follow suit Dart continued his efforts to get public companies to disassociate with the adult page. When receiving the lawsuit the sheriff’s office replied back :
“For years, Sheriff Dart has laid out to Backpage the numerous instances where pimps and traffickers have used their site for criminal purposes and attempted to negotiate in good faith with Backpage’s management to find common ground and put traffickers behind bars”.

Backpage started accepting alternate currency after the embargo with credit companies. The business started accepting Bitcoin, Litecoin and Doge immediately following the cut of ties. The opportunity is said to possibly cause a USD 100m a year in transactions with the digital currency and adult page. With all three major credit companies refusing to service Backpage the company has little choice in the matter. Opening up to Bitcoin was one of the only viable choices for the business.

Adult websites have accepted the digital currency sparingly for some time now. Sites such as Porn.com have accepted Bitcoin payments just last year. More recently LiveJasmin an adult live video feed has begun to add the cryptocurrency into its model. Bitcoin payments give these companies a strong advantage to the wars waged on their business. Adult content represents a large majority of Internet sales. Adult video alone is expected to grow to 136 billion views globally by 2015’s end. With US and UK markets seeing the largest growth in the industry. Adult video in these regions are forecasted to jump to 55% by 2020.

Bitcoin and altcoins are making their way into the adult porn business. It seems that many of the smaller companies are clearly watching the moves of Backpage and Porn.com and sites such as Jasmin are jumping aboard everyday. There are those in the community who are very much in favor of the porn industry joining forces with cryptocurrency. However there are other views that feel Bitcoin shouldn’t be about this market. Contrary to their opinions these people also support Bitcoin coming into the legal medicinal cannabis trade. So what really is the difference? Backpage and these sites are not the black market version of illegal sex trade, in fact the pages are completely legalized by the authorities. Some also may want to consider the voluntary act of consensual voyeurism and escorting which does exist. Although these subjective valuations don’t cut the mustard with what’s sometimes called mob mentality.

Do you think the porn industry is good for Bitcoin? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of shutterstock and Redmemes