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How the Porn Baron Behind OnlyFans Revolutionised the Industry

OnlyFans has put X-rated entertainment in the hands of its entertainers. Call it the paywall of porn.


OnlyFans, a London-based content subscription site is most commonly associated with adult content and the porn industry. The platform operates on a uniquely monetised paywall model where content creators (primarily sex workers) post original content in the form of images and videos to their accounts and users or ‘fans’ pay a monthly subscription to access the content.

There is also a pay-per-view feature alongside a facility for content creators (who also include musicians and physical fitness pros) to receive tips. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the sites highest earners are women.

The pandemic and the resulting lockdowns saw OnlyFans subscriptions sky-rocket to reach 82 million paying users with the site reporting revenues of $400 million in the year to November 2020; an increase of a massive 540% from the previous year. Consequently, after-tax profits reportedly rose by $60 million. The number of creators on the platform also saw a rapid rise hitting 1.6 million during the same year with more and more mainstream celebrities joining the ranks to take advantage of the site’s growing popularity.


Who IS Leo Radvinsky?

Leonid Radvinsky, a first-generation immigrant from Ukraine, founded a venture capital fund in 2009 called Leo.com. The fund invested heavily in tech businesses including Anywhere Software’s B4X programming language. He has, according to his website LR.com, spent the last two decades building software companies and is also a strong supporter of open-source projects. No stranger to the porn industry, Radvinsky owned and operated a host of adult websites prior to his investment into OnlyFans, the most notable being MyFreeCams; a site that operated in a similar way to OnlyFans by porn stars live-streaming content with users purchasing tokens for viewing access. A quick peek into his past reveals a plethora of somewhat shady dealings with many lawsuits brought against his companies for copyright and patent infringement in addition to countless allegations of fraud, theft, and drug dealing.

In 2003 and 2004 respectively, he was sued by Microsoft and Amazon for allegedly spamming Hotmail clients using their brand names as the source. On a more positive note, Radvinsky’s efforts are now firmly focused on helping to develop the next generation of apps and web-based services. He has a particular interest in emerging social media platforms and believes that the future of social media is in the development of decentralised social networks that offer users vastly improved security and more control over the content and information they share.

Security and the selling of data by social media companies becoming a growing concern in recent months and Radvinsky believes that decentralised options such as ‘Pleroma’, the platform he is currently developing, will revolutionise our online interactions.

According to Forbes, Leo’s 75% stake in the platforms parent company - Fenix International - has recently elevated him to billionaire status with the venture capital investor, entrepreneur, philanthropist and porn baron, now worth an estimated $1.8 billion.