Business 15 August 2018

Erik Gibbs

Playboy sues Global Blockchain over Vice crypto deal

About five months ago, Playboy Enterprises announced that it would start accepting cryptocurrency. Specifically, it had worked out an agreement that would see its fans use the Vice Industry Token (VIT) to pay for content. The deal would see Global Blockchain Technologies (GBT), a Vancouver, British Columbia-based company, implement the acceptance of VIT on Playboy’s sites, but it seems that someone dropped the ball. Playboy is suing GBT for not holding up its end of the contract and also for failure to make a $4-million payment as promised.

In its suit, Playboy alleges fraud and breach of contract. It filed its case in Los Angeles County Superior Court and seeks unspecified damages.

GBT has dismissed the lawsuit as a normal argument between two businesses and said that the allegation of fraud is frivolous. In a statement to the L.A. Times, the company stated, “Global believes it has a strong defense to the action and will be vigorously defending same.”

When the deal was first made public in March, Playboy indicated that it was in the process of creating an online cryptocurrency wallet that would be capable of supporting a number of different digital currencies. It anticipated initially accepting only VIT – a token specifically catering to the adult entertainment industry – before moving into other digital currencies. The idea was to see VIT accepted by all of Playboy’s online media, as well as its digital and casual gaming enterprises, with Playboy TV being the first to accept crypto payments.

Two months later, GBT announced that it was contracted by Playboy to create a wallet, as well as an interface to Playboy’s various platforms. Given the ease with which a cryptocurrency payment service can be integrated into an eCommerce platform, Playboy should have simply gone the direct route and set things up themselves.

Given the high prices associated with credit card payments – typically between 4-7% – and the enhanced transactional anonymity associated with crypto, accepting digital currency payments is a smart move. Other major sites, such as Brazzers and Pornhub, have indicated that they now accept crypto payments; however, it appears that widespread industry adoption has yet to catch on.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.

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