Bitcoins were the currency of choice at Reddit’s first virtual strip club, but now the online gentlemen’s corner has been shut down.
In the spring of 2012, a Reddit user launched a message board where anonymous women could post revealing pictures in exchange for tips in the form of bitcoins, an online currency.
The site, r/GirlsGoneBitcoin, was around for a little more than a year before Reddit administrators realized that it was actually a front for an online business run by some members of the subreddit and shut it down.
According to moderator girlfawkesy, the members “creat[ed] an agreement where [they] got a kickback for using [their] subreddit to drive traffic to a business or domain.”
Moderator on Reddit are forbidden from benefiting financially from the boards they watch over, and others who have been found promoting their own sites have been removed in the past.
“Hopefully they will let us start out again with a clean slate,” girfawkesy wrote. “I’ll update when I hear back.”
The bitcoins strip club was relatively small but growing community that had close to 2,500 subscribers by the time it was shot down. It brought users a higher level of anonymity because not only could they view women in private, but their form of payment was untraceable.
“r/girlsgonebitcoin was something I looked forward to every day after working all damn day in my lab,” girlfawkesy wrote on r/bitcoin after learning of the news. “It was a fun place anyone could visit for free, comment, or express themselves as they saw fit. Sometimes that expression involved boobs. All the better.”
The strip club catered to users of all types, with some women posing nude while others posted pictures of their feet.
The closing of the bitcoins strip club bring more attention to the emerging form of online currency, but also raises new concerns. As proponents of bitcoins try to bring a level of legitimacy to the currency that is not backed in any way, they come across critics who are fearful of the dangerous potential and the bitcoin’s association with the seedy underworld of the internet.
Earlier this month, it was revealed that the online drug dealing site Silk Road dealt almost exclusively in bitcoins for its transactions, and that the site’s founder tried to use bitcoins to have an enemy murdered.