A new adult-industry orientated blockchain has been excluded from the high profile WebSummit start-up conference on the eve of a US$24mln funding round.
Intimate, a cryptocurrency intended for payments in the adult industry, had been booked as an exhibitor at Web Summit to coincide with an initial coin offering (ICO) that was due to launch on Wednesday.
Organisers, however, blocked Intimate and Rendevu (a sort of ‘Uber for the sex industry’) from exhibiting at the industry shindig citing WebSummit’s anti-harassment policy as they claim it would have made female start-up founders “feel uncomfortable”.
Intimate’s engagement director Leah Callon-Butler in a statement described WebSummit’s move as “hypocritical” and claimed that it shows “conservative bias” against the adult industry.
Callon-Butler added that WebSummit’s policy should allow “tasteful and inclusive” discussion around the adult industry, which she said is largely ignored by mainstream society.
Given that Bitcoin and illicit activity have been notoriously linked in the past it is perhaps little surprise that some proponents of new cryptocurrency technologies want a squeaky clean image.
Nonetheless, Intimate claims it is able to deliver greater security for the adult industry.
“The adult industry is one of the oldest industries in the world and yet it is still largely unregulated. Its workers are marginalised, and very often, neither supplier nor customer is protected or empowered,” Callon-Butler said in a statement.
“Technology has the potential to revolutionise this sector, and as part of Web Summit’s remit, it should be encouraging this discussion not shutting it down. It’s the last place we expected to find conservative bias.”
Australia based Intimate is aiming to raise between US$5mln and US$24.5mln through its Ethereum based ICO. A total of 100mln tokens are due to be sold in the ICO.
Rendevu provides an online platform –which in its own words “helps sex workers and users organise availability, pricing, location in a safer and more reliable way” – and it is intended to be an early adopter of the Intimate cryptocurrency.