Cryptocurrency and Its Impact on Sex Workers

Aug 25, 2023

In a world where traditional financial institutions have often turned their backs on sex workers, the rise of cryptocurrency was once seen as a beacon of hope. However, recent developments have highlighted that even the promising realm of crypto might not be the sanctuary it was believed to be. The challenges faced by sex workers in accessing financial services and support have taken a new twist, leaving many to question the true inclusivity of the cryptocurrency landscape.

Banks, notorious for their lack of support for sex workers, have frequently closed or frozen accounts without explanation, leaving those in the industry vulnerable and unsupported. With the implementation of regulations like SESTA/FOSTA, and the looming potential of laws such as KOSA and the EARN IT Act, financial institutions are growing increasingly apprehensive about being held accountable for their engagement with sex workers, regardless of their consensual involvement.

This climate of fear has culminated in a distressing reality: sex workers are often banned and excluded from both payment applications and traditional bank accounts. The right to access essential services, evade exploitation, ensure personal safety, and exercise agency over one’s life should be universal. Sex workers, like any other individuals, deserve unencumbered access to the fundamental building blocks necessary for progress—banking, investment opportunities, and technological platforms included.

Cryptocurrency emerged as a potential solution, offering the promise of financial independence and autonomy for sex workers. However, this glimmer of hope has dimmed as crypto-based apps and platforms have started following the footsteps of traditional banks. Afraid of the repercussions posed by anti-sex work and anti-trafficking laws, these apps have begun imposing bans on sex workers, echoing the exclusionary practices seen in conventional financial institutions.

The sobering truth is that laws like SESTA/FOSTA, purportedly designed to combat trafficking, often end up disproportionately affecting consensual sex workers. The inability to access banking and payment services isn’t just an inconvenience—it can be a matter of life and death. The narrative that was meant to protect vulnerable individuals instead inadvertently exacerbates their challenges, reinforcing the cycle of exploitation and endangerment.

As we grapple with the complexities of modern society, it’s essential to acknowledge that the road to justice and equality is paved with unforeseen obstacles. The struggle for sex worker rights is far from over, and the unexpected challenges arising from the world of cryptocurrency underscore the importance of inclusive, thoughtful policy-making. Only through comprehensive awareness, understanding, and advocacy can we pave the way toward a safer, more equitable future for all individuals, regardless of their occupation or identity.