Fans are used to trading purchased “tokens” for webcam shows with their favorite porn stars online but now they can take it one step further: trading tokens to interact with adult stars face to face.
Welcome to the exciting new world of Bitcoin. Untraceable and irreversible, this cryptocurrency offers consumers a hassle-free way to make purchases sans digital footprint. Take away the cash and the high-interest credit cards et voila, spending turns into a game—one with plenty of rewards. After all, the best-kept secrets are the ones never told, and these days, the old slogan “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” is nothing more than wishful thinking. Less than a third of consumers carry more than $50 in cash, thus leaving a sizeable digital trail with each identifiable purchase.
Touted as the world’s first Bitcoin strip club, The Legends Room in Las Vegas is pushing flesh palaces into the modern era. Offering a limited number of lifetime memberships payable in one flat bitcoin fee—$5,000 for 5,000 LGD, the club’s own virtual currency—this strip club takes the term “club” seriously. Here, adult entertainers appear regularly, with various stars contracted for weekend appearances to hang out and schmooze (stripping encouraged but optional). UFC fighters are also said to be ever-present.
Peter Klamka, the creator of LGD and manager of Legends Room’s cryptocurrency, describes it as a “strip club meets SoHo house” environment with an emphasis on exclusivity, encouraging an atmosphere that’s less about the strip club and more about the VIP aspect. A CEO of Bitcoin Direct, Klamka admits he has zero background in the strip club biz but has joined forces with a veteran in the booty-shaking field, Nick Blomgren. Through their combined expertise they plan to pave a new path for adult entertainment.
What’s this Bitcoin? How does it work and where do I get them? These are the types of questions the young ladies working at Legends are prepared to answer. “While every other place is hassling you for shots, we’ll have a girl walking around with an iPad who can assist you and help you buy bitcoins,” says Klamka. “We also offer private areas where you can discuss digital currency, among other things. We call them ‘conversation rooms.’”
Featuring bitcoin ATMs within the club along with regular cash machines, the women who work here were encouraged to take “Bitcoin training” and according to Klamka, now possess a “master’s degree-level of understanding.”
As far as bitcoins go, “ATM” is something of a misnomer; functionally speaking, it’s more like a vending machine. Instead of pulling out cash, you’re literally buying digital coins. You put money into the “ATM,” hold up your phone, and the machine sends bitcoins directly to your mobile device. It’s like getting tokens at an arcade—except these are digital with a fluctuating exchange rate. “Someone can go into the Legends Room and pay the young ladies by waving their phone over the QR code on her shoulder. It’s the gameification of the club environment.”
Its status as one of the first clubs to integrate digital currency has generated a huge amount of buzz for Legends Room, one that’s already earned them a thousand members—all before their August 23rd grand opening. Excited to be among the first wave of porn stars at the club’s debut, Tasha Reign has embraced the concept of tokens and appreciated what it does for her fans. “Giving away tokens, like it’s mythological monopoly money, makes it a game,” says Reign. “I feel like the psychology behind it is positive; this way people don’t feel like they’re paying for women’s attention and instead it feels like a fun game.”
On a personal note, Reign has little interest in adding a QR code to her body art—even if it is a temporary tattoo for bitcoin payments. “I’m very particular when it comes to my personal space…but I think it’s a cool idea for someone else.” While she’s open to accepting bitcoin tips in her virtual wallet, Reign made it clear that her appearance will be paid in good old-fashioned cash.
There exists a certain resistance to Bitcoin currency, which translates into an untapped market of consumers. Reports estimate that 90 percent of bitcoin users are affluent, tech-savvy young men—the perfect demographic for a specialized club.
“There aren’t a lot of places to spend bitcoin and the price has gone up this year, so there’s a lot of excess dollars floating around in a primarily young male market,” acknowledges Klamka. “At Legends, you can buy drinks, tip the girl and there’s no credit card statement going home to the wife. Bitcoin isn’t anonymous but there’s no statement—doesn’t say where, what or why—just a transferring of coins, and no way to prove what you spent them on.”
Educating a mini army of adult entertainers in cryptocurrency could be the start of a digital currency revolution. For adult stars who accept bitcoins, there’s an upside: no charge-backs since once the coins are transferred it’s irreversible. Additionally, banks won’t be able to discriminate against its stable of entertainers since it’s a peer-to-peer transaction that uses blockchain technology. Essentially a digital ledger, each transaction is linked to the last in chronological order and beamed out to the network for all to see. It’s a transparent method of real-time transactions controlled by no central authority, and is therefore also not insured (one of the downsides if you have limited disposable income). Anyone can verify “funds” due to its open source system, however it is somewhat volatile and its development is ongoing.
Bitcoin tech is as exciting as it is daunting, but as with most tech innovations: nothing ventured, nothing gained.