Recent payment difficulties and the constant threat of de-platforming have led adult content creators to shift towards decentralized versions of platforms like Only-Fans and Patreon. Leon Lee, the founder and CEO of Only1, a decentralized alternative to OnlyFans, highlights that Web3 has triggered a significant power shift from intermediaries to content creators.
Lee emphasizes that the role of intermediaries is diminishing, while creators are seeing an increase in their earnings. In August, Patreon creators faced challenges when trying to withdraw their earnings, as banks flagged payments as fraudulent.
Many creators still remember when OnlyFans attempted to ban sexually explicit content in 2021, only to reverse the decision shortly afterward. Lee argues that creators will always be vulnerable to deplatforming as long as they remain on centralized platforms using conventional payment methods, preventing them from realizing their full earning potential.
Only1, launched on the Solana blockchain in March 2023 with backing from Animoca Brands, is just one of several startups aiming to revolutionize adult subscription platforms with a decentralized crypto approach.
In 2022, Allie Rae, an OnlyFans model, created WetSpace, a crypto-powered adult content platform, as an alternative to OnlyFans. Rae’s motivation was to bypass the payment pressures imposed on creators by banks, recognizing that banks played a significant role in the decisions made by content platforms.
More recently, creators on OnlyFans have started migrating to Friend.tech, a new decentralized social media platform built on Coinbase’s layer-2 network Base. Lee believes that a mass migration event will occur as creators realize they no longer wish to be constrained by censorship rules imposed by centralized intermediaries.
“Creators are awakening to this reality and are becoming less reliant on intermediaries for monetization,” Lee noted. While TV producers, advertisers, and brands will maintain a presence in the creator economy, Lee sees blockchain-based peer-to-peer payment infrastructure as the “next logical step” for creators. By eliminating dependence on traditional payment processors, Web3 platforms can offer full autonomy over permissible content types.
Lee observes that since the OnlyFans adult content censorship controversy, creators have been creating backup accounts on various platforms to mitigate deplatforming risks. Notably, Proof of Peach, SEXN, and Keyhole are three other adult entertainment platforms operating in the Web3 space.
Lee anticipates that more creators will eventually gravitate toward decentralized platforms that grant them full autonomy over their content and ownership rights to their earnings. He sees a future where there are no intermediaries between fans and creators, a potential realized through blockchain technology.