Beware AltCoin

Oh, man. Another altcoin exchange, Cryptsy, has gone under. All assets have been seized by the courts, all accounts are frozen. It's undergone the Full Gox, after the famous bankruptcy of Mt. Gox in 2014, the Bitcoin exchange.

Some sex workers advertise that they accept Bitcoin and other virtual currencies, or alternative payment delivery systems like SnapCash. Here in the Bay Area and other urban areas, there's tremendous pressure for providers to cater to a tech-savvy clientele. I fully appreciate the temptation — untraceable money? Hallelujah! However, I don’t recommend accepting any kind of altcoinage, at least not at this time.

SnapCash, BitCoin, and all these other new products are hacker bait to start with. How would it feel to open your virtual bank account to find it cleaned out? (Don't think that's possible? Read about SnapCash's security vulnerabilities here.) Just who would you call to investigate the theft of your hard-earned cyberdollars?

As a sex worker, Rule Number Two is keep your money safe, and these systems aren’t anywhere near secure yet. (Rule Number One is keepyourself safe. Goes without saying.) I write extensively about handling your money in my upcoming book, Thriving in Sex Work: Heartfelt Advice for Staying Sane in the Sex Industry.

Just as disturbingly, valuations fluctuate wildly. Your hourly rate is a big damned deal-- you wouldn’t dream of pegging it to the Russian ruble, but with Bitcoin, that’s in effect what you’re doing. Any currency that can lose half its value in a few hours is Monopoly money, as far as I’m concerned.

God forbid you should ever get busted, but advertising you accept virtual currencies puts a target on your back for the IRS and possible money laundering charges. And good luck trying to convert your alternative money into actual cash for bail or retaining an attorney when you’re sitting in county jail.

Altcoin is tempting -- I totally get it, but my advice: Steer clear.