Backpage Accepts Bitcoin as Visa, MasterCard Set Embargos

By Jul 13, 2015 10:00 PM EST

Backpage says “screw off” to squeamish credit card companies Visa and MasterCard by dropping fees for adult ads and announcing that it is going to accept all digital currencies like Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Dogecoin. Some estimates say Backpage’s acceptance could open up a $100m (£64m) opportunity for Bitcoin, since it is one of the site’s only remaining payment options.

Also read: Dream Lover: Models Sending Pictures for Bitcoin

This decision came as Visa and MasterCard cut off their services to Backpage, citing illegal or brand-damaging activities as the reason. Therefore, users who want to post ads on Backpage must now use Bitcoin, Litecoin, or Dogecoin to pay the posting fees. The decision by the company makes it the first mainstream resource of its type to experiment with a cryptocurrency-only payment model.

Subjected to Moral Policing?

Dating Sites Accepting BitcoinIt looks like the decision by Visa and MasterCard to stop processing Backpage payments came from a request by Thomas Dart, the Sheriff of  Cook County, Illinois — who is on a crusade against Furthermore, it seems that Dart’s crusad is more about moral policing than anything else. Dart had written Visa and MasterCard, saying that he objectively found Backpage to promote prostitution and facilitate online sex trafficking, and it was their moral duty to act and take a step towards solving the problem.

Backpage has been under pressure from lawmakers and law enforcement for years to end adult-services advertisements. However, Backpage’s profitability has enticed the company to continue operations. The Cook County Sheriff’s Department says that in April alone, Backpage published over 1.4 million adult-services ads in the U.S. and earned roughly $9 million in revenue per month through that channel.

Though some harm-reduction groups have praised the move by Visa and MasterCard, other people have shown concerns that it could lead to some sex workers, who were working independently by advertising on Backpage, being pushed into the street. Lindsay Roth, Board Chair of the Sex Workers Outreach Project, stated that saying that this policy effectively disenfranchises thousands of sex workers across the country who do not have access to any other means of online-advertising. Showing her concern towards the sex workers, she said that those who may have worked independently prior to the policy change may now have to rely on third parties, including traffickers, in order to meet their needs.

Bitcoin Payments on Adult Sites are Not Uncommon

Upon receiving the letter from Dart, Visa and MasterCard announced that they will refuse to process payments for “adult” ads on Moreover, as American Express did the same earlier this year, Backpage has no other choice but to accept digital currencies. Interestingly, the leading adult site also started accepting Bitcoin payments in early 2014. However, the website also accepts traditional credit card payments, PayPal, and online cheques.

Thus, Bitcoin payments on adult sites are not uncommon, and the decision by Backpage is another example that is going to encourage others to embrace digital currency if they face embargoes from the traditional payment processors. There are several advantages of using Bitcoin to pay for adult content; for instance, the users who are not too keen to share their credit card data with adult websites have perfectly good reason to pay in Bitcoin.

Adult content accounts for as much as 30% of total internet bandwidth and adult websites attract more than 450 million unique visitors each month. According to, the average daily Bitcoin transaction volume currently hovers around $40m, meaning that payments through Backpage could account for around 0.75% of the cryptocurrency’s transaction volume.

What do you think of Backpage’s decision to embrace digital currency? Let us know in the comments below!

Images: Backpage, Getty Images

Disclaimer: the author of the story is neither associated with Backpage nor has any vested interest with the company.

Originally posted on: Backpage Accepts Bitcoin as Visa, MasterCard Set Embargos

Facebook Comments

  • Thomas Federick

    Hello Everyone , I just got my inheritance from my late Father and part of it was some bit coins . Right now i seriously do not need these bit coins, i don’t even know what to really use them for . I researched about this bit coin and seems to be of great importance to some individuals , so he was advised to sell it. he am ready to sell each bit coin for $6000 for one , so if you are interested you can mail me via ( Thanks

  • James Black 100% safe mobile and friendly adult webcams , take bitcoin is an option to buy credits . support many languages aswell

  • Siddiq Khan

    Though Backpage stopped accepting Credit card and now only accept Bitcoin, there is a solution. You can buy Backpage Credits directly from:
    and your backpage account will be credited instantly in seconds. I used this service several times and i always got credits in my backapge account in less than a 15 seconds!

  • Concerned American

    Thanks Sheriff Dart for morally policing the entire nation instead of your county and state! Why do you feel a need to police morality? You have now made it so that people will simply use Bitcoin or cash to buy ads which also includes many legitimate advertisers. Your moral crusade will only result in people using other means to pay for ads. Shame on Visa, Mastercard and American Express for caving in to this bullying. What next? Will you ask banks to refuse to cash checks for what you deem to be immoral? Will you ask that money order companies refuse to cash money orders that appear to be for something you think is immoral? Will you start seizing bitcoins from people who now are using bitcoins for buying ads on Backpage? You couldn’t convince Backpage to stop so you pressure the credit card companies to refuse to let their own customers pay with their own credit card. Thanks a lot!

  • TV Network

    Many porn sites do as well.
    If you are into butts and are not mobile friendly and accept bitcoin as well

  • Andrius

    If you need a dedicated server for BitCoins, you can check . Also they provide instant linux or windows vps, hosting, etc.

  • T.M.

    Backpage is not going anywhere. You can still send in money orders and even cash, just lick a stamp. They said it would be hard now. I know how to send off a letter. Now you have allowed the criminals to post untracked. I do LEGAL body rubs off of Backpage,thank you Dart, now my ad only cost $1 rather than $7. Is morality going to be validated via our CC? Think what the long range implications? I’m sending off another $50 today CASH to BAckpage. I’ll also learn bitcoin. I also recommend another CC to come on line.

  • Taylor

    Mr. Dart is really dumb if you look at the bigger picture. If you want to catch sex traffickers, then backpage is just handing them to you through the posting. Shutting down backpage just puts them in hiding. You’re not going to stop the problem completely. They will just find another avenue. Smart law enforcement would keep it open to keep thing is plain sight to catch the bad guys. Mr. Dart is an idiot. Who voted for that guy?

  • Awesome. Good to see them sticking to their guns.

  • stephanie villarreal

    See Mr Dart if you were actually interested in doing some real police work you would want the credit card companies to do business, that way you can trace who’s posting the ads! But that’s right another ” politician” who’s all talk and no common sense! Home of the free my @$$ what happened to freedom of speech? I bet if you the government were making millions in taxes from prostitution everyone of you would have a different opinion! Not to mention “everyone” is against it but I can guarantee you 80% of the politican’s have used Backpage at least once! Keep up the fight Backpage were all rooting for you! If they actually cared about crime they’d work with you to do something about it but instead they want to talk the talk and not walk the walk!

  • Tanya

    this is awesome also in the us you can still use american express, or send in money orders or cash to the backpage office in texas to buy credits. just send in like $50 and you are good for a whole week!

  • spazzdla

    Need BTC as a Canadian,, doesn’t require sign up just a bitcoin wallet a phone number and online banking to pay.
    As for a wallet I would recommend for anyone new to bitcoin, good luck.

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