Sex-toy entrepreneur Polly Rodriguez is sick of bankers giving her funny looks.
Her online shop, Unbound, sells candy-colored vibrators, bangle handcuffs and other intimate products for women. Despite selling out inventory, Rodriguez said she struggled to find a bank that would extend her a small-business loan. She chalked it up to finance industry jitters when it comes to sex.
Now she sees a ray of hope coming from digital currency.
“When you get labeled as an adult company, you get blacklisted, effectively,” Rodriguez said. “The moment you put it into code and take out the subjective moral judgment, it’s a shift.”
Banks and credit-card companies can be hidebound when it comes to adult businesses, which can be big moneymakers. Sex toys alone haul in more than $20 billion a year around the world, and by 2020, sales are expected to reach almost $30 billion, according to London-based market-research firm Technavio. Still, financial firms consider sex-toy sellers high risk, lumping them in with businesses such as escort services and pornography websites, which can sometimes flirt with illegality.