AvaCon is another virtual world company that is notable for its work in organizing and hosting real-world conferences in the past. They run an OpenSim grid called AvaCon Grid, and they appear to have hosted a series of real-world Avatar Meetups:
AvaCon hosts and produces a series of educational lectures and community gathering meet-upsthat reach approximately 15 to 40 attendees per event and take place in various regional cities such as Austin, Boston, New York and San Francisco.
These meetups feature a single panel discussion, presentation, artistic or musical performance, or community event to foster knowledge sharing and social networking among attendees who are interested in broad technical, scholarly, scientific and creative uses of virtual worlds, augmented reality, and 3D immersive and virtual spaces.
These meetings appear to have stopped in 2014, however. Their news page hasn’t been updated since October 2017, and I notice a lot of somewhat dated content on their blog, which leads me to believe that AvaCon is not nearly as active at the moment.
I was surprised to discover that AvaCon produced the Second Life Community Conventions of 2010 and 2011. (There hasn’t been an SL Convention since then. I guess people just lost interest, or maybe the organizers got burned out. Organizing a convention is a lot of hard work!)
The best things in life are free But you can give them to the birds and bees I want money That’s what I want That’s what I want That’s what I want
Your love gives me such a thrill But your love won’t pay my bills I want money That’s what I want That’s what I want That’s what I want
—Money, the Flying Lizards
In-world currency systems are an integral part of many social VR/virtual world platforms. Second Life can be seen as the perfect example of a virtual world whose popularity exploded once people realized that they could make money on the platform, inspired by a 2006 Businessweek cover story on Second Life entrepreneur Anshe Chung:
This blogpost is an attempt to provide a comprehensive overview of how the newer virtual world platforms have implemented in-world currencies and set up systems for commerce.
Linden Lab has, of course, 15 years of experience working with Second Life‘s economy and in-game currency, and they have applied that expertise in the setup and operation of the economy for their new virtual world, Sansar. You can buy Sansar dollars in two ways, directly in bundles or via the Sansar Dollar Exchange (SandeX), a currency exchange. There are more details on the SandeX in this document:
The SandeX is the official virtual exchange of Sansar, run by Linden Lab, where you can:
Buy Sansar dollars at the current market rate.
Make limit buy offers at a requested exchange rate.
Sell Sansar dollars at the current market rate.
Make limit sell offers at a requested exchange rate.
All SandeX transactions are subject to transaction fees.
Market buy and sell
Market buys and market sells are the quickest ways to purchase or sell Sansar dollars on the SandeX. The SandeX automatically matches your order with the best exchange rate. The quoted exchange rate includes transaction fees associated with buying and selling on the exchange.
Limit buy and sell
Limit buys and sells allow you to specify the amount of Sansar dollars and the exchange rate you are willing to accept. The SandeX automatically matches up buy and sell offers as they come in. If you are buying, you must have sufficient funds in your US$ wallet to pay for the buy order.
Creators can sell their creations on the Sansar Store, and can also receive statistics on how well their items are selling. There is as yet no in-world commerce like they have in Second Life.
Gold credits can only be purchased for real money by spending users and can be converted back to real money by Sine Wave virtual goods partners.
Gold credits trade at 100 / 1 fixed ratio with USD$
Silver credits are free promotional credits given to users as rewards for participating in the community.
Silver credits cannot be converted to real money but can be used by creators to promote their content to new platform users who have not yet purchased gold.
Sinespace has a Marketplace built into its client software, and a few vendors like BlakOpal have also set up in-world stores.
High Fidelity has attracted a lot of recent media attention due to the fact that they have decided to set up a blockchain-based in-world currency, called High Fidelity Coins (HFC):
Blockchain Technology: Our new currency, High Fidelity Coins (HFC), will be a public blockchain with a consensus group of multiple parties. A blockchain is essentially a digital ledger of transactions. We are using blockchain technology to track and record transactions made using HFC. All information on a blockchain exists as a shared database, which means the records are public and verifiable. It is not centralized. We are also using the blockchain to store information about digital asset ownership in High Fidelity. This enables us to protect intellectual property by embedding certification in items in the blockchain. HFC will eventually be convertible to local currencies or other cryptocurrencies at popular exchanges.
Cryptographically-secured Wallet: Users will be able to participate in transactions using their Wallet, which will be an app on their tablet in High Fidelity. Your Wallet is secured using a security picture and a passphrase which includes ECDSA public-private keys pairs. These key pairs are used to sign each transaction.
Proof of Provenance (PoP) certificate: This certificate is generated for every transaction between a user’s Wallet and the Markeplace. This certificate’s ID is stored on the blockchain. The certificate contains static properties that can help in identifying the item and the owner. These properties cannot be altered, except by transfer of the PoP Certificate. Currently, we only support objects that contain a file type .JSON. Support for avatars and other file types will be coming soon.
Currently, the only way to get some HFC (a free one-time grant) is to go to the Bank of High Fidelity domain at their open times and meet with the banker. Here’s some more information of HFC from the High Fidelity website:
These coins are to be used as currency for any commerce transactions in the Marketplace. Since we are using blockchain technology, all transactions with HFCs will be publically recorded and stored.
Your Wallet will be secured using ECDSA public-private key pairs, security picture and passphrase. Learn more about your Wallet here.
HFC is not intended for speculators to hold and should be used in transactions in High Fidelity. HFC is intended to be a stable currency and used to support a healthy and vibrant virtual economy for digital goods and assets.\
High Fidelity has an online Marketplace where vendors can sell their products (users can also access the Marketplace listings using their tablets in-world). Avatar Island is the first domain set up in HiFi where you can try on and purchase items for your avatar in-world.
Different OpenSim grids have different solutions to the problem of an in-world currency. Every grid has in-world stores which offer merchandise for sale. Some grids issue their own currencies; others use the Gloebit system, which has the advantage of being one standard currency which is transferable and usable across a large number of participating OpenSim grids. The Kitely Marketplace is a popular shopping mall for the many OpenSim virtual worlds:
Kitely Market can deliver items to all Kitely avatars, as well as to avatars on all other OpenSim grids that support the Hypergrid. Our marketplace also delivers items to avatars on several non-Hypergrid grids that have been set up to receive deliveries from our system.
Kitely Market has been used to deliver items to thousands of OpenSim users on more than 100 different OpenSim grids.
Virtual Universe, Decentraland and the Other Blockchain-Based Virtual Worlds
Virtual Universe, Decentraland,Mark Space, Staramba Spaces, VIBEHub, Ceek, and Terra Virtua (among many other products in this increasingly crowded marketplace) are issuing their own blockchain-based cryptocurrencies or tokens for future use on their platforms. all of which are still in development. The product closest to a launch date appears to be Virtual Universe, which plans to start a closed beta sometime in the fourth quarter of 2018.
I’ve already strongly warned potential investors to do every. single. scrap. of their homework before investing a penny in any of these blockchain/cryptocurrency ventures (link). Caveat Emptor!
Other Social VR/Virtual World Platforms
I can’t think of any other metaverse products which have in-world currencies at the moment, besides the adult virtual worlds like Oasis and Utherverse/The Red Light Center (these links are safe for work). If I’ve missed one, please let me know in the comments, thank you!
And I want to follow up on yesterday’s question with another one: In your opinion, what have been the biggest successes in the 15-year history of Second Life? Things that we should celebrate, that were accomplished either by Linden Lab or by the users?