OnlyFans, the booming subscription social platform, has built up a considerable payments business and is now looking to add new features and capabilities to create added value for content creators, a new report by publishing platform Workweek says. OnlyFans’ ambition is to improve the payout process and introduce new ways for creators to earn money and monetize their content.
2022 has seen top executives representing OnlyFans appearing at notable fintech events, first in Amsterdam during Money20/20 Europe back in June and then in Las Vegas in October for the annual US edition of the event series, during which they shared the company’s impressive growth metrics and aspiration for their payments business moving forward.
Keily Blair, chief strategy and operations officer of OnlyFans, said during an interview at Money20/20 Europe 2022 that the company has processed over US$8 billion in terms of payments to creators, showcasing the scale and volume of transactions the firm is now processing.
OnlyFans CFO Lee Taylor shared the vision of establishing “a truly international social media platform payment network” that’s able to make payments “as smooth to go USD to USD as it is to go USD to [GBP].” The system also needs to be designed with user experience in mind, he added, allowing, for example, creators to instantly see their earnings and immediately withdraw after the seven-day window set up.
OnlyFans has also significantly ramped up its conversations with banking and payment providers this year, the report says. This cumulated to the opening of its first direct clearing account in the UK this year, which the company never had before.
Founded in 2016, OnlyFans is an Internet content subscription service based in London that allows content creators to earn money from users who subscribe to their content. Creators can also receive funding directly from their followers on a monthly basis, as well as through one-time tips and the pay-per-view (PPV) feature. PPV content refers to messages, posts and streams that fans pay for à la carte to view.
Most recently, OnlyFans started dipping a toe into non-fungible tokens (NFTs), launching in December 2021 a new feature for users to display verified NFTs as profile picture, Reuters reported in February. The feature, CEO Gan said, “is the first step in exploring the role that NFTs can play on our platform.”
OnlyFans operates under a rather simple business model: the creator takes 80% and the platform, 20%. The platform doesn’t have ads or algorithms and Gan said it’s not selling anyone’s data.
Taylor said that the company pays its creators in a variety of ways, including in local currencies and by utilizing platforms like Pix, Brazil’s real-time payment system. But cryptocurrencies are currently off the table, he said, citing compliance and traceability obligations.
“Through the obviously more private crypto world, we need to be sure exactly where those funds are going, and that’s not possible,” Taylor said.
According to the CFO, the site has around 200 million users and two million creators with “very vast, very spread out, diverse content.”
The Financial Times (FT) ranks OnlyFans as the fourth-fastest growing business in Europe. In 2020, the company recorded US$2.4 billion worth of transactions on its platform and posted revenues of about US$338 million, according to the FT.
Blair said OnlyFans differentiates itself from competitors in that users only pay for what they want to view, unlike other subscription services where customers have to pay for content they may not want to consume.
OnlyFans’ new focus on the payment side of its business comes as little surprise considering that last year, the company nearly banned porn on its platform over pressure coming from credit card companies and banks including Mastercard, BNY Mellon and JPMorgan Chase.
Although OnlyFans is general-purpose, the platform has proven particularly popular among those who use it to sell (sex) pictures and videos and hold personal chats with clients.
The move suggests a desire to reduce its dependence on third-party financial services providers who have shown their power to influence online content by limiting who may or may not get paid.