Bitcoin becoming more popular payment option for elite Dutch sex workers
High-end sex workers in the Netherlands are turning to bitcoin as a payment option with growing frequency, BNR reported. The media outlet surveyed eight escort companies that charge a minimum of 350 euros per hour.
While sex workers’ clientele often want to pay with cash, sex workers can run into difficulty due to limits on cash deposits that banks can impose. Customers wanting more anonymity began asking to use cryptocurrency to pay for services starting within the last few years.
“We have been called a few times asking if it is possible to pay for a date with bitcoin. Then we introduced this as an extra service,” said Erwin, the owner of The Men’s Company, when contacted by BNR.
The trend is becoming more popular with sex work, even as other service providers and retailers have begun to shun cryptocurrency amid daily exchange rates that can change wildly. Just last week, another escort service, Pink Sheets, began accepting bitcoin.
Cash was becoming more problematic for the company as banks have implemented stricter know-your-customer and anti-money laundering procedures. Banks can also classify sex work businesses as having a more questionable risk profile, said Amy, the owner of Pink Sheets, in a radio interview with BNR.
To cover processing fees and currency fluctuations, Pink Sheets adds a 10-percent fee on top of a client’s bill if they want to pay using bitcoin. While this is relatively new to higher-end Dutch sex work businesses, Amy said it is more common abroad. “Our largest competitor does not do it. I’m not sure why,” she stated, even though companies in England and Germany already accept cryptocurrency payments.
Credit cards can also be difficult to process, as can Paypal, due to restrictions from financial institutions. “We then had to drop many bookings from abroad,” said Erwin.
There are 15 high-end escort agencies, and more than half of them now accept bitcoin, industry group Vereniging Exploitanten Relaxbedrijven told BNR.