Boston nurse fired for nudes on OnlyFans launches crypto porn app

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Former Boston ICU nurse Allie Rae made international news in August last year after she was fired for running an extremely naughty Only Fans account on the side. The story appeared everywhere from the NY Post, to CNN, The Daily Beast — and she even made an appearance on Dr Phil.

The resulting publicity saw fans subscribing in droves and the 37-year old mother of three now makes more than $200,000 a month.

But the same sort of moralizing and censorship that ended her nursing career also threatens her newfound wealth from Only Fans. Just six days after her story was made public, Only Fans announced it would ban “sexually explicit” content, under pressure from its banking partners.   

“When the news broke about the payment processing and OnlyFans I began looking at other platforms to switch to, and quickly realized they too could fall into the same trap down the road,” Rae says on the line from her new home in crypto friendly Florida.

“It was at that time that I figured out crypto was the answer.”

She’s assembled a team of 20 developers and is putting the finishing touches on a new Only Fans meets Instagram style crypto-powered social platform called WetSpace. It’s due to launch in beta in February, accepting payments in a range of stablecoins across different chains to mitigate issues with gas fees. NFT support will come in the project’s second stage mid-year.

Porn has long been seen as one of the best chances crypto has for adoption: Users can remain anonymous and performers don’t have to deal with payment processors charging them high fees or unilaterally cutting off services under opaque morality clauses.

Despite this, as Magazine discovered in the past, crypto payments have failed to take off. Pornhub tried and failed with Verge, then moved to using Pumapay’s service, which was crippled by high gas fees on Ethereum and is in the process of relaunching on Binance Smart Chain. Spankchain attempted a more modest platform targeting crypto users but has had limited success so far, though it’s still in the game and is developing ‘SpankPay V2’ based on user feedback. Cumrocket is developing an NFT marketplace but reports limited availability of its CUMMIES tokens on exchanges.

Rae believes a major problem is trying to launch projects with related adult tokens. “I had been watching the fall of other ‘adult shit coins’ and how their model was destined to fail serving two masters — creators and holders. That is when WetSpace came about.”

Rae points out that adult coins add an extra step to the process and most are very volatile which isn’t attractive to users or models. 

“So I thought,’ Well we don’t need a coin, like, why go through all the drama of this coin? Of course, you’d get a lot of money up front, and it would definitely help fund your project. But luckily, I didn’t need to be concerned about the financial side of it, because I had the money to put into it.”

How she got here

The mother of three teenage sons, Rae is an unlikely porn star turned crypto entrepreneur. She joined the Navy at 17 and married husband Steven the following year (he sometimes stars in her videos). She then worked for five years in marketing, management and real estate, before getting her dream job in nursing. “I was obsessed,” she says. “I was a straight A nursing student, it was truly my passion and still is, it really is.”

Rae received a Masters in Nursing Education and specialized in Neonatal Intensive Care, nursing sick babies back to health. “Even though it was such a tragic time for so many families there were also so many great moments,” she says. “I was a wonderful NICU nurse very, very good at my job.”

But bored at home during the pandemic, she started up an Instagram account posting about hockey and craft beer. This attracted a devoted male following, some of whom suggested she start an Only Fans. When she read news reports that the actress Bella Thorne had made $1M on the platform in a single day, she decided to take their advice.

“I posted a few pictures and I really actually had kind of fun with it. It was quite liberating, you know, at my age and before you knew it, I had so many subscribers and we were actually making good money on there.”

By the end of her first month she’d made $6,900 — more than the $6,500 she was paid as a nurse.

Unfortunately for Rae not everyone is a fan of Only Fans and a group of six of what she calls her “mean girl” colleagues, led by a Pastor’s wife, stumbled across her Instagram and then screenshotted her Only Fans content for management.

News spread like wildfire through the hospital and that was “ultimately what I think drove management to have to act.”

“Their overall consensus was that it was now such a distraction on the unit, with everybody knowing, that if I was going to continue to do that, I couldn’t work there,” she adds.

“I wasn’t mentally ready to leave, I’ll tell you it was very difficult. There’s a lot of tears shed in that. But I think given how toxic the environment and how judged I felt there, I wasn’t looked at the same, it was probably the right thing to do.”

Tailor made for the media

Firing an ICU nurse in the middle of a pandemic due to her porny Only Fans account is an editor’s wet dream (not Magazine of course, we’re strictly interested in the future of finance) and the story went viral. She went from making $35K a month from her side hustle to $200K a month thanks to the publicity. Steven gave up his airline job to help full time with the business.

“Our success was just unbelievable and so it became hard to not make it a priority,” she says. 

“It’s crazy to go from being a suburban hockey mom slash nurse to now I’m like this advocate for the sex industry. I mean, it’s very, very different.”

Porn payments

Part of that advocacy is trying to figure out a way for creators and operators to escape the stranglehold that traditional payment processors have on it. In recent years the war on adult sites by payment processors has ramped up, supported by the emotive campaigns of anti-porn crusaders.

A case in point in the famed New York Times piece in December 2020 called The Children of Pornhub. Columnist Nicholas Kristof sensationally claimed the “site is infested with rape videos. It monetizes child rapes, revenge pornography, spy cam videos of women showering, racist and misogynist content, and footage of women being asphyxiated in plastic bags.” He argued the site facilitated sex trafficking and cited a petition with 2.1 million signatures calling for it to be closed.

Often mistakenly referred to as an investigation, the NYT billed the piece as “opinion” meaning its usual standards of fact checking don’t apply. Mashable summed up the piece as being based on the “dubious and distorted findings and arguments of one anti-sex work conservative group”. It caused a massive backlash and MasterCard and Visa quickly announced they would no longer provide services to Pornhub, threatening the viability of the tie.

The deplatforming of sex sites by payment companies has ramped up considerably in recent years, following the passing of the controversial  FOSTA-SESTA (Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act and the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act) in 2018.

Rae’s first encounter with the issue, came when Only Fans caused outrage in August last year by announcing it would ban ‘sexually explicit’ content, threatening the livelihoods of 2 million creators making $2.3 billion a year. Founder and CEO of OnlyFans Tim Stokely blamed BNY Mellon, Metro Bank, and JPMorgan Chase for refusing to process payments, though the ban was quickly reversed after “banking partners’ assurances that OnlyFans can support all genres of creators.”

“A lot of people at that time were reaching out to me, what do you think about this? Oh, my gosh, where are you going? You’re making so much money. Now where are you going to put your content?” she recalls.

Rae explains that she’d considered other platforms but realized competitors “are at the mercy of the banks as well.”

“That’s when my brain really got to turn on to: what is the solution to this?,” she says.  “At that time, I didn’t fully understand the nature of what was going on. But I did a lot of research and I started to really dive into the dark, you know, part of what’s going on in terms of the big financial institutions.”

“Porn is always looked at as taboo. There’s a stigma out there. But the amount of control that these banking industries have, over every platform that runs primarily on fiat, is scary.”

Counterpoint

She argues that Only Fans gives creators a safer way to work in the sex industry than in a strip club or on the streets. And while she believes in taking firm action against sex trafficking and child pornography, she says those aims are only selectively pursued by payment processors.

A 2020 survey from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children revealed Facebook had 20.3 million reported incidents of child sexual abuse materials, Google had 546,704 incidents, Twitter had 65,062, Snapchat 144,095, and TikTok 22,692.

Way down the bottom of the list was Pornhub’s parent company MindGeek with 13,000.

“Facebook literally is the leader in child sex trafficking, and they’re definitely not shutting them down,” she says. “How much of it is in regards to them just truly wanting to get rid of the people in this industry (porn) and ban this type of content — is it really about child trafficking?”

“The banks are the issue across the board. And the only natural solution to that is well, how do we get rid of the banks? Well, luckily, there’s decentralization, and there’s crypto.”

Crypto and the porn industry

Rae had dabbled in crypto previously, making a bundle off of Dogecoin when Elon Musk’s tweets drove it to the moon, and playing around with creating her own NFTs when Cumrocket launched its NSFW NFT marketplace in mid-2021.

She says the anonymity of crypto is perfect for users who want to sign up but can’t afford to have an Only Fans entry on their bank statements.

“I get DMs all the time saying ‘God, I wish I could join Only Fans. But you know, I just can’t have my accountant seeing all the charges.’” There’s a huge market that a lot of creators aren’t able to tap into.

The WetSpace interface will look a lot like Instagram with a feed, a discovery feature for creators and later on, a marketplace enabling models to sell NFTs with added bonuses like free subscriptions, premium snaps or video chats. WetSpace will charge creators 15% (Only Fans charges 20%) and they can select which cryptocurrencies to accept. They receive the money instantly and don’t have to worry about chargebacks.

Rae says it’s about 90% complete right now, with new features being added all the time.

“We have a Discord (forum) that’s really poppin, lots of creators saying, Hey, are we gonna have this? Can we do this? And I’m like, ‘Yes, we’re gonna have so many great things.’ I think it’s going to be a fun place to be for the user and the creator. And I’m excited and I hope it revolutionizes this entire industry.”

Yeah, but …

While there’s no doubting her ambitions, so far though crypto payments in porn haven’t really worked out. In early 2020, Spankchain performer and ambassador Allie Eve Knox explained to Magazine why:

“These are old dudes that are just trying to get off and then now they have to go through this whole thing of creating a wallet, saving a seed phrase, getting crypto, moving it into a wallet. […] It’s not just ‘I’m gonna go buy porn in 15 minutes and relieve myself’ process.”

Rae however believes times have changed and that the tech is more widespread and user friendly than ever before. She concedes the biggest hurdle will be helping noobs get started, but there will be step by step explainers and guides on how to buy crypto through a connected Coinbase, Metamask or Trust wallet.

“I want very, very clear clicks: like ‘sign up for your wallet here’ step-by-step because I do understand it is a learning curve. We are putting a lot of time and money into the educational side of this. Because it truly is really easy once you get going.”

“Crypto is in your face everywhere now. A couple of years ago, people would laugh at you if you talked about Bitcoin, people were like, Oh, God, one of those Bitcoin people! And look at it now. It’s an actual currency. I think a lot of people who didn’t believe in it before are definitely starting to be like, Okay, what is this all about? And they’re wanting to know more.”

“There’s no doubt in my mind, it will be a very, very big part of pornography, or any type of subscription base for adult content,” she says. “I don’t think it’s going away.”

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