BIRMINGHAM, U.K. — A U.K. escort agency is now allowing its customers to use bitcoin Internet currency on its website to pay for their sex services.
“We felt there were probably a lot of people out there who had bitcoins and no way to really enjoy spending them. Accepting bitcoins seemed an obvious extension of our own interest in the currency,” the agency told ZDNet.
Would-be johns can pay for sex using bitcoins that can be transferred through a computer or smartphone to Passion VIP’s website without an intermediate financial institution.
Clients just contact the agency's receptionist to say they want to pay with bitcoin, confirm the booking times, and then send payment via the site’s encrypticbitcoin address. Once the deal is done the client is contacted with a set date confirmation.
The "Bitcoin Escorts" page also has a scannable QR code if clients want to speed up the transaction and has basic information about bitcoin transactions and links for people who want to learn more, or open an account.
Bitcoin savvy clients can use them immediately, and those unfamiliar with the technology can find information on the site on how to buy and trade in bitcoins. The article pointed out that the use of bitcoins alleviates the worrying about theft of payment or counterfeit by either party, and the cops would find it tough to prove money exchanged hands for sex.
Bitcoin also alleviates odd-looking credit card statement charges.
“There are several advantages for both escorts and clients. For clients the advantage is that it is totally anonymous. You could argue that cash is anonymous too, but not in the same way,” the site’s operators said.
“For the escorts it's an easy an anonymous way to accept payment and unlike credit cards there are no chargebacks, which have been a huge problem for escorts and agencies in the past. It also means that escorts are not handling large amounts of cash, reducing the risk of theft or robbery. Few personal details are exchanged when using bitcoins; it's simple and efficient and a safe method of payment.”
The site makes it clear that the money exchanged is only for “companionship” to alleviate public soliciting and brothel ownership that are crimes in the U.K.
There are standard and “Elite” bitcoin rates. A one-hour standard charge is 2.5 BTC, 90 minutes is 3.75 BTC, a dinner date is 5 BTC, an overnight costs 14 BTC, and additional hours are 2 BTC each.
One hour of "Elite" time is 2.75 BTC, 90 minutes is 4.75 BTC, a dinner date is 5.25 BTC, an overnight costs 15 BTC, and additional hours are 2.25 BTC each.
At current bitcoin exchange rates, a standard hour would cost $309.75 (£192.62), and $340.72 (£211.88) for one hour of Elite time.