Yes, I’m watching a late-night talk show called Hard Shaft, with Milton Shaftburger.
No, I have no fucking idea why.
“Picture a morning in Huntington Beach, California. In the bedroom of a modest apartment a block away from Main Street, a young woman awakens to the sound of her smartphone alarm. She gets out of bed, does her morning aerobics, showers, eats breakfast—all the ordinary, mundane things one might do when preparing for their day, with one important distinction: she’s completely naked.”
Boobs and crotch pixelated as they may be in the B-roll, it’s definitely enough to keep me from changing the channel.
“The woman’s screen name is EmmaZ1998_, and she’s a full-time Naker. That is, she goes without clothing all day, everyday in exchange for Newdcoin payments from her followers, who can subscribe to her livestream via the Newdcoin app. The longer she’s naked, the more Newdcoin the app mines on her behalf. She also earns bonuses performing commonly requested activities such as showering, exercising, and reacting to Internet memes.
“EmmaZ1998_ is one of literally millions of people worldwide who are shucking off their clothing as a means of earning a living. But can a cryptocurrency succeed based solely on the demand for online nudity? With me today is Renevic Shoe, creator of Newdcoin.”
This gray-haired dude with enormous elementary school teacher glasses appears on-screen, deadpans the camera, clasps his hands.
“I’m Milton Shaftburger, let’s get hard.”
The camera cuts to a wider shot showing both Milton and Renevic seated at the most retro table you ever saw.
“It’s a pleasure having you in the studio, Renevic.”
Renevic smooths back his hippie locks, arranges several of his friendship bracelets. “Please, call me Rene.”
“Newdcoin. It says on the official Web site, ‘Get naked, earn cash!’ Is it really that simple?”
“To paraphrase an ancient social media proverb, Milton, everyone winds up naked on the Internet sooner or later. Why not make money at it?”
“But a cryptocurrency—nay, an entire decentralized economy—facilitating the exchange of nude selfies and cam videos?”
“We have a currency based on exercise—Sweatcoin. There’s Cthulhu Offerings, based on ritual sacrifice offered to the mighty Cthulhu. A currency based on nudity is sort of a natural progression.”
“Except it’s not just nudity, now is it? People are also masturbating and having sex in exchange for money. Some would call that pornography.”
“The more explicit the content, the higher the value of the Newdcoin transaction, yes. But this isn’t a dating site or hookup app we’re talking about here. The sole purpose of Newdcoin is nude performance. Users can’t make friends, meet up, or in any way contact Nakers or other users physically. Everything’s decentralized.”
“It’s a small world. Sooner or later a Newdcoin user is bound to bump into someone they’ve seen or been seen by online.”
“The same kind of person who’d stalk someone after having seen them naked online would also stalk them after seeing them fully-clothed on the street. Pervs are pervs. Newdcoin makes no difference either way.”
“Give it to me hard, Rene. Are you cashing in on promiscuity?”
“Newdcoin merely monetizes—for the users, mind you, and not for me or some corporate conglomerate—the amateur nude and/or sexual content that’s already prevalent on the Internet. Content aside, is that anymore ludicrous than your own cryptocurrency, Milton?”
“I do have my own currency, Shaftcoin, yes.” Milton lights a cigar, takes a luxurious puff. “I’ve got the what. Now give me the why.”
“I made some bad choices during my college days, burned one too many bridges. At age twenty-three, I had no job, no money, no home, no family. But I knew how to code, I knew how to wank, and, like virtually every other human being on the planet, I had a phone. I tried doing live cam shows for a while, but the streaming services all took a cut. It occurred to me that I’m doing all the wanking, I should be keeping all the profit. I don’t need a middle man. None of us do. That’s where Newdcoin comes in. I’m nothing to look at—but that’s the beauty of Newdcoin. If I can do it, anybody can.”
“Indeed. An entire generation of young people are making a living with nothing more than a phone and their own bodies, meaning being naked is now their livelihood. What of the danger of success being literally skin-deep?”
“Milton, what makes Newdcoin so invaluable is the fact that the people who use it are genuine. Upload, say, to a SuperMegaNet server, and you have no idea who’s skinned and who’s not. It’s superficial, avatars gone wild. With Newdcoin, you’re mining nudity or sex using actual, real people, be they gorgeous supermodels or ripped beefcakes, homely housewives or lanky uber-nerds. That’s the allure of Newdcoin—the reality. And it’s not just the young and attractive who’re using the currency. MILFs, DILFs, golden grannies, nasty fatties, flat and featureless, balder than baldies—there’s always an audience ready to part with their cash. Basically, if you’ve got a body, you can earn Newdcoin.”
“You don’t find that demeaning?”
“Why should I? Why should anyone be shamed into not making a living off his or her body if they want to? The sex is optional. In fact, nearly half of all Newdcoin transactions are for nudity only. Cooking, cleaning, doing yoga or aerobics, hanging a portrait, eating a bran muffin while vacuuming—people have all kinds of scenarios they can cash in on that don’t involve sex at all.”
“The potentials are astounding, but so are the pitfalls. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a recent article in The Angelican by Thornton Milburrough in which he states quite bluntly, ‘That the world economy of tomorrow will be built upon the bare butts and crotches of kids mining Newdcoin in their bedrooms is a bastardization of blockchain technology that will either bring the cryptocurrency movement to its knees—or usher in a new era of social delinquency the likes of which we’ve never seen.’ Put succinctly, is anyone thinking of the children?”
“Oh, we have sophisticated software in place that prevents minors from using Newdcoin…”
Rene goes on, but I’m not listening. Having disrobed and installed the Newdcoin app on my PC, I aim my webcam at my crotch, snap away, upload the photo (as per the instructions on the account verification page).
The app processes my photo—and returns an error message:
Pubic hair not found. Please try again.
I try again.
Invalid genitalia. Please try again.
I try yet again.
Pubic hair invalid. Please try again.
And so that’s the story of how Gramps walked in on me trying to glue his hairpiece to my crotch.