Tag Archives: Second Life

Thoughts on SL Banking ban

I know I’ve talked to people about virtual worlds and when they point out that it is “odd” or somehow “wrong” for people to adopt other identities, I sometimes repsond that the ability to do so, or at least, the ability to do anything meaningful as your alter ego, will be limited by how porous the boundary between virtual and real wrold is.  moreover, that barrier is getting more porous in most cases.  As virtual worlds develop, what people want to do in and iwth them will bump against the very real world of durable identity and the need for regulation

So, the fall out from the banking crisis as described in his WSJ article seems to affirm my point.

First, only in SL  :>):

Cheer Up, Ben: Your Economy Isn’t As Bad as This One – WSJ.com
On Sunday night, the female character was wandering topless through the virtual lobby of a Second Life bank called BCX Bank, where a sign said it was “not currently accepting deposits or paying interest.”

I still don’t get very well what these banks’ business model was?  What is their loan portfolio?  How could they possible deliver 100% returns?  The answers are not clear.  I suppose partly it is speculative dynamics around land.  Do the bankers know about Linden’s plans to control land supply?  Would that constitute insider information?  Or, through fast growth SL business; this was the story behind Ginko Financial which failed last summer and was purportedly investing in gambling in SL (another story of regulation).

For example, how can this guy say the ban will not effect his business?

Cheer Up, Ben: Your Economy Isn’t As Bad as This One – WSJ.comSteve Smith, who runs BCX bank under the avatar name Travis Ristow, yesterday said depositors — who are owed a total of $20,000 — will be able to get their money back next week. The bank, which had promised to pay depositors more than 200% in annual interest, is now allowing only small withdrawals.

“This won’t affect us long term. It’s just a short-term difficulty,” said Mr. Smith, 40 years old, who also has significant land and real-estate interests in Second Life. He said he retired from the real-life mortgage business to devote his time exclusively to his Second Life enterprises.

Finally, there is one mention that one bank was arbitraging Linden-US exchanges to the tune of $15,000/year in profit. and

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Filed under Banking, Business, policy, Political Economy, Second Life, virtual worlds

Serious Play… A Title for Paper on Second Life

Here is the abstract Ted and I are working from. I am not sure whether to go for the Organization and Management Theory division or the Organization and Communication Information Systems division of AOM.

Titles?

The Influence of Economic and Social Incentive on the Evolution of Virtual Worlds

OR

Serious Play in Synthetic Worlds: Theorizing the Sustainability of
Second Life

Jordi Comas, Bucknell University

Ted Tschang, Singapore Management University

Abstract

The hype and dashed expectations over Second Life simply highlights the
need for a better understanding of the nature of SW. SL is an important
case because it highlights how the dynamics between individual play and
collective socioeconomics drive the evolution of a SW. Early attempts
to comprehensively understand SW have privileged either a view of SWs as
games or as marketing channels. We attempt to correct this view by
proposing a comprehensive framework for theorizing the evolution and
sustainability of a SW using SL as one example of this process. Our
framework is a “bathtub” model to explain joint processes at individual
and collective levels. The motivations of users to participate are
broadly described as play, although work done on video games and
role-playing offer important types of play. However, due to the
persistence and open-endedness of SL, the motives of users are only part
of the picture. The evolution of social and economic systems (a system
of roles, exchanges, and even institutions) continually alters the world
that playful or role-playing users interact with even as their actions
affect the evolution at a higher level. Once we develop a framework to
identify user motivations and forms of economic and social organization,
we validate it with a series of illustrations. We conclude by
developing a research agenda derived from the framework that will guide
researchers and inform discussions about the keys to success in SWs.

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Filed under digital culture, economic sociology, higher education, Research, Second Life, social theory