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Pornhub Pulls Out of Texas, Verge Payment Option Stays as VPN Searches Spike

Last Updated March 15, 2024 11:32 AM
Teuta Franjkovic
Last Updated March 15, 2024 11:32 AM
By Teuta Franjkovic
Verified by Peter Henn

Key Takeaways

  • Pornhub is blocking Texans in response to a new state law requiring age verification.
  • Legal experts are questioning the recent court ruling, as regulating minors’ access to online content has precedent.
  • VPN searches spiked in Texas after the Pornhub block.

In a recent escalation of the conflict between adult content platforms and Texas legislators, Pornhub halted its services  to Texas residents.

The company argues a new state law  violates adults’ constitutional rights to access speechprotected under the First Amendment.

Pornhub Blocks Texas Users After Court Upholds Age Verification Law

Pornhub, recognized as one of the globe’s most frequented websites, initiated legal action against Attorney General Ken Paxton  last year. This lawsuit aims to prevent the enforcement of a 2023 Texas statute ordering pornography-hosting websites to implement age-verification procedures and post health warnings on their sites.

Following a decision  by the fifth Circuit Court of Appeals last week, which endorsed the requirement for age verification, Pornhub made its website inaccessible Texan users. This court ruling referenced a 1968 Supreme Court decision that aimed to prevent the distribution of obscene materials to minors.

However, legal experts say the issue of regulating minors’ access to online content is not new. They added that it has been clearly defined in past legal frameworks. The existing legal consensus seems at odds with the recent verdict, sparking debate and further scrutiny over the application and implications of such regulatory measures.

Texans Rush to VPNs After Pornhub Blocks Access Over Age Law

Following the appeals court’s ruling, there was a noticeable, albeit predictable, surge in Google searches for “VPN”. As a result, Texas has surged to the forefront among states in terms of VPN search frequency . This trend suggests that individuals are actively seeking methods to bypass the Pornhub blackout in their area, demonstrating the lengths to which people will go to access content they feel they are being unjustly denied.

VPN search
Credit: Google Trends

Pornhub’s recent action to disable its site in Texas is not a novel protest against age verification laws. In the past year, the platform similarly restricted access in several other states, including Mississippi, Virginia, Arkansas, and Utah, in response to similar legislative requirements. Additionally, Pornhub went offline in North Carolina and Montana  as of January, further illustrating its stance against the imposition of age verification measures. These series of shutdowns highlight Pornhub’s consistent approach to challenging laws it perceives as infringing on access to protected speech.

Pornhub Embraces Crypto After Credit Card Ban

Two years prior, Pornhub announced a shift to exclusively accepting cryptocurrencies for payments after Visa and Mastercard ceased allowing their credit and debit cards for purchases of premium subscriptions on the site. This move came following the adult website’s inability to process credit card transactions. Pornhub even encouraged users to opt for digital currencies such as Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin for payments instead.

The inclusion of privacy-focused cryptocurrencies like Monero and Zcash highlights Pornhub’s effort to cater to users prioritizing anonymity. This change in payment methods was precipitated by a critical investigation by The New York Times. The NYT revealed the presence of illegal content on Pornhub, including non-consensual videos and materials featuring children. In response to these findings and as part of its ongoing adjustments, Pornhub now also accepts Verge as a payment option, signaling its continued adaptation to ensure compliance and secure transaction methods for its users.

The site states :

“The future has come. In our efforts to keep current with our community’s privacy and payment preferences, Pornhub will now be accepting Verge as a means of payment for services like Pornhub Premium and more, on our platforms. Building on Verge’s core values of security, anonymity and practicality, the introduction of this cryptocurrency as a means of payment Pornhub signifies an important foray into the future from the industry that is always on the cutting edge of technology.”

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