LONDON, UK, 10th May 2023 - To tackle the challenges in the creator economy, MintStars has developed the world's first sex-positive NFT subscription platform. While the creator economy is booming, creators on platforms like OnlyFans often struggle with high fees, burnout, piracy, and censorship. Sex workers and LGBTQ+ creators face widespread discrimination; almost 2/3 of adult creators have lost a bank account or payment app. MintStars provides a more inclusive alternative with lower fees, using crypto-based payments to protect creators from financial exclusion and enabling creators to earn money from fans reselling their content.
The London-based startup, incubated with the Harvard Innovation Labs, recently closed its $600k pre-seed funding round, led by notable blockchain leader Polygon Labs and adult crypto company SpankChain.
Co-founder Jessica Van Meir, a PhD student at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government researching sex workers’ rights, previously worked for a feminist law firm supporting victims of image-based sexual abuse (“revenge porn”) and sex trafficking. Through this work, Van Meir observed that online sex workers struggle with having their images stolen, financial discrimination (from banks and payment processors), and de-platforming on social media.
“Sex workers should have the same access to the internet as everyone else, without having to pay extortionate fees due to payment processors discriminating against them," Van Meir says. "We built MintStars for all creators who make a living off their bodies, be they models, sex workers, or dancers, because we believe in consent and bodily autonomy."
MintStars enables creators to monetize their content through subscriptions and marketplace sales and allows fans to earn money from promoting creators. Fans can collect and resell exclusive content to other fans on the MintStars marketplace, with royalties paid back to the original creator. Unlike other content subscription platforms, MintStars charges fans a five percent fee, with creators paying nothing. Payments on the platform happen in USDC, a stablecoin equivalent to the dollar, so creators are protected from financial discrimination, chargebacks, and delayed payouts.
While the rise of Web3 and blockchain technology has been widely documented, the space is still hampered by high barriers to entry and a lack of real-world use cases.
According to co-founder and CEO Daniel Sargent, MintStars is taking an alternative approach: "People associate NFTs with gatekept communities and outrageously expensive cartoon jpegs. We're taking the same technology and giving it purpose to solve the real problems creators face, without requiring any crypto knowledge to use the platform."
MintStars’ beta launch has attracted 1,000 users since going live in January. With the recent funding round, MintStars is committed to furthering its vision of a world where creators have freedom to express themselves with fairer pay and ownership of their content.