By Chris Morris
Updated: April 17, 2018 11:45 AM ET

Mindgeek, the biggest company in adult entertainment, is adding crypto to its payment options. The owner of Pornhub and Brazzers announced Tuesday it was entering into a partnership with cryptocurrency Verge.

The partnership sent Verge prices soaring more than 22% in the hours before the announcement, as investors awaited the long-teased partnership announcement. Verge began hinting a big partner was coming last month, launching a crowdfunding campaign with a target of collecting 75 million worth of the crypto. It’s unclear at this time if Mindgeek took an ownership stake in the currency—but it did get Stormy Daniels, the hottest porn star in the world right now, to promote the partnership in a video.

“Pornhub is a global organization with nearly a hundred million daily users,” said Verge founder Justin Sunerok. “This partnership represents an enormous market with a global reach that will compete with fiat currencies. It’s huge for Verge and we’re extremely excited to finally be able to announce it.”

Mindgeek will initially accept the coins at three of its sites—Pornhub, Brazzers, and Nutaku, an adult gaming portal. Other sites will follow.

“​While the adult industry is becoming more mainstream, there are still a lot people who prefer to be secretive or private about it,” said Corey Price, vice president at Pornhub in a statement. “By accepting crypto, we are making the purchasing of content even more secure, which will appeal to those people. With the added incentive, we expect to see an uptick on the purchasing of content.”

The partnership is a notable one due to Mindgeek’s enormous footprint in the adult industry. The company, which publicly describes itself as “a leader in web design, IT, web development, and SEO,” controls the majority of the porn ‘tube’ sites, (think YouTube for porn), which stream XXX clips. While most users utilize the free offerings, there are some who pay subscription fees for higher quality clips.

It’s also the owner of several production studios, including Digital Playground, and controls Playboy TV and owns Spice TV. Adult industry insiders at other companies regularly accuse the company of stealing their content for the tube sites. It’s not a well-liked company in the industry, but it’s so dominant, others have accepted it as a part of doing business.

The Verge cryptocurrency isn’t without detractors, either. Created in 2014, it has raised alarms recently with allegations of paid pumping by John McAfee and its recent crowdfunding efforts that were used to “support development” of the partnership with Mindgeek. (18 million XVG were moved from the fundraising wallet without explanation, alarming some in the community.)

The adult entertainment industry, while usually quick to adopt new technologies, dragged its feet on cryptocurrencies. A push took place in 2013, with several companies, including Wicked Pictures, making initial plans to do so, but none of those came to fruition, in part (ironically) because of the fluctuations of the currency’s value.

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