Why This Sex Industry Executive Loves Bitcoin

Why This Sex Industry Executive Loves Bitcoin

Chaturbate executive Shirely Lara is a sex industry veteran who sees bitcoin as a crucial part of her business. The bitcoin-friendly porn executive talks with CoinDesk reporter Leigh Cuen about bitcoin, sex and feminism. 

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This episode is sponsored by Crypto.comBitstamp and Nexo.io.

Chaturbate COO Shirley Lara, one of the most experienced platform executives in the adult content industry, has been keen on bitcoin’s potential since 2018. 

“We accept 20 different cryptocurrencies for token purchases. The most popular ones are bitcoin, ethereum and litecoin,” Lara said. 

Experts, including Lara, estimate there “thousands and thousands” of cam girls working across platforms like OnlyFan and Chaturbate at any given time. That dwarfs the incumbent porn industry. Today, OnlyFans alone is estimated to have 60,000 content creator accounts and millions of registered viewers, despite some criticism from sex workers on Twitter. 

Many of the leading sex industry corporations, like OnlyFans, Chaturbate and MindGeek, appear to be owned by (relatively secretive) men, who are far removed from the public performers. Lara, who joined Chaturbate in 2011, is one of the rare examples of a woman who worked her way up to the executive level without first creating a personal porn star brand. Her work is primarily technical and operational.  

“I don’t think crypto is a trend. I think it’s definitely here to stay,” Lara said, noting the steady incline of bitcoin usage among performers in Colombia and Romania. “They’ll use cryptocurrency as a way to jump on [Chaturbate] and get started while they figure out the banking stuff.”   

Meanwhile, her global operations allow performers like Honey Li, in Europe, to stack sats through Chaturbate. Li said a little bit of her earnings, in addition to whatever she needs to pay bills, is set aside as bitcoin savings. For Lara, having this choice was crucial to the platform’s crypto integrations. 

“You asked if we

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