Virtual world's supposed economy is 'a pyramid scheme'

As I discussed this type of stuff with a self-fashioned hedge fund manager friend, he determined to sink a more sizable amount into testing the Second Life market. After all, talk about uncorrelated returns. He’d read about Second Life in increasingly more sophisticated business and financial press. The Economist, The Financial Times, etc. All of which touted the large and exponentially growing size of the SL “economy”. So a mere $10,000 USD shouldn’t be but a drop in the bucket, given the fact SL was supposedly producing virtual millionaires.

Once we started playing with real money in SL, however, the truth about the supposed economy therein quickly came to light:

  • You can earn a lot of Linden dollars in SL, in fact fairly rapidly sometimes, but…
  • If you can actually collect your SLLs from your counterparty – which turns out to be an enormous problem – you can’t cash them out for USD easily or profitably.

It turns out that inside the game, counterparty risk is tremendous. In fact, entire banks will suddenly disappear. —Virtual world’s supposed economy is ‘a pyramid scheme’ (Valleywag)

I don’t know what any of this means, but I wouldn’t have considered investing any money in SL anyway. I really haven’t the time to play subscription-based games. Still, I had been a bit surprised by all the mainstream press that SL has been getting.