Would Hugh Hefner have dug blockchain?

Global Blockchain Technologies (BLOC), the Canadian blockchain investment company, said Thursday it is working with the late founder’s Playboy Enterprises to develop a digital wallet that will allow users to receive cryptocurrency for watching content on the Playboy.tv portal. The wallet will allow for the use of the “Vice Industry Token” (VIT) on the Playboy.tv portal. The BLOC wallet is set to allow integration of VIT into the Playboy.tv platform by the end of this year.

In March, Playboy announced its interest in developing a cryptocurrency wallet, becoming the latest media company to embrace blockchain technology as a way to streamline operations and bolster the bottom line.

For instance, Comcast has been exploring the technologys use to make it easier for media companies to exchange data related to advertising. Separately, the companys venture arm is investing in blockchain projects. And last year, online music provider Spotify acquired the blockchain startup Mediachain to improve its distribution and compensation processes.

Playboy’s circulation may have waned over the past three decades, but the Beverly Hills, Calif., company is still a high-profile brand and still drawing eyeballs.

How It Works

As users watch, comment on, like and vote on the Playboy.tv site’s content they will be rewarded with VIT. They will also be able to buy VIT from an exchange. The new BLOC wallet will allow users to store and then spend their VIT on premium content, subscriptions and as-yet unspecified additional useson the website.

Playboy hopes it has found another way to shake things up in the adult content world.

The white paper for VIT explains that the token is based on the open-source code for the Steem blockchain. That system “generates and distributes Steem tokens as users consume internet content, simultaneously recording proof of such interactions on an immutable ledger.”

VIT has been modified to meet the specific needs of the adult content industry,according to the white paper. While it serves “as a medium of exchange,” it is also “a means of capturing viewer engagement data in a single token.” This will allow content providers to better tailor their offerings to user desires.

Shidan Gouran, president and CEO of BLOC, told ThirtyK that integration of VIT into Playboy.tv with the BLOC wallet will benefit Playboy by enriching user engagement and driving more traffic to the site. Whats more, he added, “it will give Playboy the opportunity to only accept tokens for certain forms of exclusive content that cannot be purchased with other currencies.This will give VIT a value that can go on the balance sheet.

What It Means

Playboy, VIT and BLOC think they’ve found a model that will disrupt online advertising and content delivery in the adult entertainment industry and beyond.

In a press release, Reena Patel, Playboy’s chief operations, licensing and media officer, noted that the media world has changedsuch that “the true hot commodity [is] human attention.Patel said VIT helps address this challenge “by paying its users just to watch videos.“With BLOC helping to drive this integration,she said, “Playboy.tv will be one of the first to ride this wave in an era where human attention is more valuable than ever.

Gouran added that media companies “are too focused on selling ads to realizehow valuable human attention has become. “The idea is that other online industries can use similar technologies to pay users tokens[A]nything that requires human attention can be optimized by adopting a pay-to-consume model like Playboy.tv announced with us.”

Sean Lawson
Sean Lawson is Associate Professor of Communication at the University of Utah where he researches emerging communication technologies. He is the author of Nonlinear Science and Warfare: Chaos, Complexity, and the U.S. Military in the Information Age.