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‘I am the only escort who takes Bitcoin’ Jess claims in her soft accent over a coffee at Crown Casino. She is petite and conservatively dressed, but the gym-fit curves she has on display on her website are evident nonetheless. She is excited about the potential of the cryptocurrency for her industry. The benefits, she thinks, are obvious for both escorts and clients.
‘Say someone books me for an overnight for $3000; they’ve got to take that money out of their bank account. And if they’ve got wives, they’ll be going Where’s the money going? What are you spending $3000 on?’ she says. ‘If they spent $3000 on Bitcoin instead of just withdrawing it in cash, then they’ve got the excuse that they’re buying Bitcoin because you can buy things online with it. Or they can just have the excuse that they’re investing in cryptocurrency’.
Jess sees a few clients a week and most are regulars. Many are married and for some escorts become an addiction.
‘I had a client last year, before I accepted Bitcoin who couldn’t see me any more because his wife found out. And she found out through bank statements and the regular weekly withdrawal of thousands of dollars which was unaccounted for. If he’d just used Bitcoin, he never would have been found out’.
Like many in her profession, Jess is paranoid about her privacy (she’s blurred out her face on her website, but take it from me, she’s gorgeous). Other than the one friend who introduced her to escorting when she was an 18-year-old uni student, her friends and family are unaware of what she does. She even managed to keep her moonlighting secret from a long-term boyfriend. So she would also welcome the option to pay her advertising expenses in a more discreet manner.
‘I think it would be good for the companies I pay for advertising to accept Bitcoin rather than credit card or direct debit or whatever,’ she says.
Although a Melbourne lass, Jess takes her assets on tour every few weeks, with regular trips to Sydney and Perth. Home or away, she will only ever meet clients in CBD hotels and she tends to stick to older guys. She will also see middle-aged couples up for a special treat: ‘Some of the women are filthy!’ Younger guys, she says, have too much to prove and are determined to get their “money’s worth,” and when joining young couples she often feels the female has been coerced into it rather than it being a joint decision. But this means she has to try and explain Bitcoin to a generation who haven’t necessarily grown up online. Success so far has been limited.
‘I’ve only had three different clients so far [pay in Bitcoin]’, Jess says. The entire balance of her Hive wallet is income from services rendered. Bitcoin is still a bit of a novelty and she’s enjoying the investment opportunity. ‘I just keep those bitcoins. I probably would spend little bits here and there, but I think it’s just fun to keep them in my bitcoin wallet and see what happens to them’.
She did briefly remove the Bitcoin option. ‘One of my clients warned me not to do it. He does mining and guys buy bitcoin from him. And he said they’re really rough’. She pointed out that he was a nice guy and she figured they’d all be geeks like him. ‘He said no, most of them are into drug trafficking and stuff like that. He said they’re the ones who want to get rid of their bitcoins’.
She considered his warning and ‘I did take it down for a day, then I thought nah, I’ll put it back up’.
Although Jess enjoys her work, she has a plan to quit the industry within two years, once she has saved enough to start her own business. ‘I’m thinking of opening up a store – not sex-related – maybe in Sydney or Perth. ‘I’ve got two years to figure it out, do a business plan and stop working’.
You can bet she’ll be taking Bitcoin.
You can follow Jess on @JessicaEllisXX