Editorial: Linden Lab’s New Sansar Dollar Conversion Policy Penalizes Musical Performers and Other People Who Receive Tips in Sansar

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Photo by Sam Truong Dan on Unsplash

Yesterday, Linden Lab finally relaunched their Sansar Dollar Conversion page since their shift away from the SandeX, as part of their launch of Sansar on Steam. However, there are a few new stipulations that people need to be aware of before they try to cash out their Sansar dollars:

Today’s the day. Our Sansar Dollar Conversion page is officially live!

What this means, in a nutshell: creators like you can once again convert their Earned Sansar dollars into US dollars.

How this differs from our old Sandex system:

  • Earned Sansar dollars represent the Sansar dollars you’ve made from selling items in the Sansar Store. Only Earned Sansar dollars are eligible to be converted into US dollars. Earned Sansar dollars can be converted into USD here.
  • Sansar dollars that were bought, received as a gift, or received through a promotion do not count as Earned Sansar dollars. As an exception, any Sansar dollars you have before today have been automatically converted into Earned Sansar dollars, regardless of how you acquired them.
  • When spending or gifting Sansar dollars in Sansar, you automatically draw from non-earned dollars first before spending any Earned Sansar dollars. This is to maximize the amount of Sansar dollars eligible for conversion when the time comes.
  • As stated in our December blog, the conversion rate from S$ to USD will be S$250:$1. Anyone who has created their Sansar account before December 31, 2018 will receive a legacy conversion rate of S$143 to $1 until December 31, 2019, after which the conversion rate for all accounts will be S$250 to $1.
  • We’ve also re-enabled the Process Credit page to allow you to initiate moving USD to your PayPal account. Please allow up to 30 days to complete a request.

One thing that strikes me immediately is that this new policy unfairly penalizes musical performers and other people who receive tips or gratuities in Sansar dollars from audience members. From now on, income received as a gift does NOT count as “earned Sansar dollars”, and will not be able to be cashed out as U.S. dollars. I think that this is a short-sighted decision on Linden Lab’s part, which might negatively impact the use of the platform by musical performers and other entertainers.

Also short-sighted is the decision that Sansar dollars “received through a promotion” would no longer be eligible to be exchanged into U.S. dollars. This means that, from now on, any contest prizes of Sansar dollars can no longer be cashed out of the system.

On a more positive note, it does look as though people will now be able to move their earned U.S. dollars to their PayPal accounts, which is something that many people have long been waiting for. However, it’s not clear whether or not non-Steam users will be able to buy Sansar dollars via their PayPal accounts, or if they are still restricted to credit cards (from what I understand, Sansar users who downloaded the client from Steam are able to use PayPal to buy Sansar dollars using their Steam wallet).

What do you think? Please feel free to leave a comment on this blogpost, or join the RyanSchultz.com Discord and voice your opinion there.

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5 thoughts on “Editorial: Linden Lab’s New Sansar Dollar Conversion Policy Penalizes Musical Performers and Other People Who Receive Tips in Sansar”

  1. The 15% they take from the store is too much. Taking a percentage of gifted money was a step to far in my opinion. This earned dollars thing is bullshit. I’ve lost hope for Sansar.

  2. @Susan. They no longer take that 15% from store purchases.

    In relation to tipping. For a long time I’ve suggested that musicians create a store front in Sansar and have a variety of tip jars so fans could “buy” as a way to tip. Now more than ever, this seems like the only reasonable way for musicians to earn money in Sansar.

  3. Make no mistake, the new system penalizes creators as well as performers. The cashout exchange rate of 250 to 1 represents a huge change. Money coming out of Sansar is now worth dramatically less than money coming in. That means content creators, who already largely work for pennies an hour in the hopes of there someday being a large enough population to eke out a living, are now earning significantly less on Sansar.

    This begs the question, is Linden Lab trying to shift away from a healthy and robust user-created content driven economy? I also can’t help but wonder whether the Sansar economy was somehow failing and the system needed to be changed to keep currency in-world. Probably the biggest question of all is, how much longer until Linden Lab does this to Second Life?

  4. In the spirit of full disclosure, I am not a Sansar creator. My partner and I joined and started making content in Second Life in 2008, after being disappointed at LL’s lack of cross-platform support with Sansar we chose SineSpace as our next-gen world of choice in 2016.

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