High Fidelity Sets a New Avatar Capacity Record: 356 Avatars in a Single Domain!

High Fidelity logo

I have to say this: I am really quite impressed with the level of innovation recently coming out of Philip Rosedale’s metaverse company High Fidelity. (It might be the result of all that new venture capital money they are spending!) Yesterday they had their third in a series of monthly stress tests of the virtual world platform, and they officially beat their old record by quite a margin: 356 avatars in a single HiFi domain!

They started off with a half-hour trivia game, where you had to stand on one of four coloured squares (A, B< C, or D) corresponding to what you thought was the correct answer to a posted trivia question. Each wrong answer teleported the losers automatically off the playing field (to watch from a raised platform on the sidelines) until there was only one winner left standing! There were a few glitches to the system, but overall it worked fairly well, and it was a fun way to start off the event!

The following picture of me standing in front of the main stage at The Spot with the official avatar counter in the background was taken by Andrew, who is the very hard-working producer and video editor of my upcoming pre-taped show, Metaverse Newscast. (High Fidelity hired him to be the official photographer at yesterday’s event!)

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We already have two taped segments of the first episode of Metaverse Newscast, and we hope to add a third segment and release the program to viewers sometime this fall. We’ll be interviewing the personalities behind social VR, virtual worlds, and the metaverse on various platforms, including High Fidelity in the future!

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High Fidelity Announces the Ability to Convert High Fidelity Coin (HFC) into U.S. Dollars

I’m taking a break from blogging…yeah, riiight…” O.K., after this one final blogpost, I am taking a break until September 1st! I mean it this time!!! 😉


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It may come as a surprise to some people that you couldn’t do this already, but High Fidelity has just announced that they will now offer users the ability to convert High Fidelity Coin (HFC, High Fidelity’s in-world currency) into U.S. dollars. Up until now, people who sold items on the High Fidelity Marketplace had to keep their earnings within the system, which was a big drawback to content creators who wanted to earn real-world currency.

Philip Rosedale writes on the High Fidelity blog:

This opens the possibility for people to earn real money creating and selling virtual goods and services within High Fidelity. We see this as a vital step in the emergence of a thriving High Fidelity economy: the flywheel of innovation and creativity in any marketplace starts when creators have positive incentives to contribute to the growing body of content for sale. In time, we hope creators will be able to support themselves by selling items in the Marketplace, charging for the experiences they create, and offering useful in-world services to other creators and performers.

We believe the High Fidelity marketplace will develop into a rich and varied ecosystem supporting a broad range of digital experiences. For instance, a user might buy an outfit for their avatar then spend an hour on a guided tour of Korea, before meeting up with friends in a nightclub. Along the way, the clothes designer, tour docent, club owner, lighting technician, and DJ will all be rewarded for their effort, and be able to turn their HFC into U.S. dollars.

Starting this week, we’re taking our first steps to create that ecosystem. Now’s the time to get started creating in High Fidelity.

To prime the pump, High Fidelity is going to be offering incentives for creators:

We’re also excited to launch our High Fidelity Development Fund today, where members of our community can take on projects to extend the High Fidelity platform. There are dozens of features we’re planning to add, and we’re looking to developers in our community to sign up to create them. Of course, we’re planning to pay them for their hard work — in HFC, which they can convert to legal tender.

Here’s how we see this working: we’ve already set up a public group on Telegram which developers can use to contact us about these projects. We plan to regularly post new opportunities to the channel for people to select and bid for. The aim here is to reward our most dedicated members, to accelerate feature rollout, and to inject more activity into the economy, which in turn will benefit everyone.

In this first wave of the Fund, we’re committing 1,000,000 HFC [US$10,000] to fund developers. Use the Telegram channel to bid on initiatives, propose new projects, and suggest new features for the platform. Sign up here to learn more.

Compared to the over 14,000 items already available for sale in the Sansar Store, there are not nearly as many items for sale in the High Fidelity Marketplace, so taking these steps makes sense to grow the High Fidelity platform.

In order to convert your HFC to USD, you will need to provide High Fidelity with your real-world name, address and email as part of the process. You will also need a PayPal account. The actual conversion process does sound rather cumbersome:

Trades will initially be handled manually by our staff using the following process:

  • High Fidelity will publish a calendar through which users can book trading appointments.
  • After High Fidelity staff accept and confirm the time slot they will whitelist the user to visit the Trading Room domain to make their trade. The user will be whitelisted based on their provided High Fidelity account name.
  • High Fidelity staff will take receipt of HFC from the trading user. Payments will be made using PayPal and paid to the email account specified via the appointment booking form. Time to payment receipt will be based on PayPal rules and guidelines. Payments will be made from finance@highfidelity.com.

There is a minimum transfer of 5,000 HFC per transaction. This service is still in beta: and we reserve the right to stop and start or change daily limits or refuse transactions at any time.

Note that you cannot yet buy HFC with real-world currency, although Philip promises that will come soon.

In addition, the company has announced a few new ways to get 3D objects into High Fidelity:

We expect the content put up for sale in the High Fidelity Marketplace to come from a variety of sources. The Marketplace provides a way for users to sell their content with the confidence that their intellectual property will be protected.

Creators who have assets already developed, or who prefer to use go-to applications like SketchUp or Google Poly, can now import them into High Fidelity. We’re officially launching support for these applications and others alongside our trading services now that the entire workflow from creation to monetization is in place.

Check out the High Fidelity documentation on how to add content to the Marketplace.

You can upload FBX and OBJ files to the Marketplace for sale.

Are Bounty Programs the Future of Virtual World Promotion?

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You can be a Bounty Hunter like Dog!

As many of you already know, I am a participant in the Virtual Universe (VU) Initial Coin Offering Partner Program. In exchange for writing regular blogposts about VU and cross-posting them to different social media, I get paid in VU tokens. (It’s currently the only way I can earn tokens before VU launches later this year.) This is a good example of a bounty program, in which volunteers get paid in in-world currency for undertaking various tasks.

I just recently learned that Decentraland also has a bounty program in place through Gitcoin, in which they pay users in MANA for such tasks as creating video tutorials, writing blogposts, and talking about the Decentraland project at game developer events.

And Linden Lab is now participating in Twitch’s new Bounty Board program in order to further promote the Sansar platform:

Bounty Board is a way for creators to browse and accept paid sponsorship opportunities (AKA bounties) directly from their Twitch dashboard. With Bounty Board, Twitch handles the relationship with the brand and finds sponsorship opportunities for you. Twitch will also handle your payments, so you can concentrate on streaming and growing your community.

We’re kicking things off with a closed beta with Partners in the U.S., where we’ll be experimenting with bounties from Twitch and select game developers. Every few weeks, we’ll be onboarding groups of randomly-selected Partners from the waitlist as well as some targeted Partners based on the specific bounties available.

And of course, High Fidelity has been paying participants in their monthly stress testing of the platform. In two months, I have already earned two $20 VISA cards I am planning to use on Amazon to buy some books for myself!

Bounty programs seem to be popping up all over! We might be seeing the start of a trend here. If you’re interested in promoting your favourite virtual world, check to see if your preferred platform has a bounty program in place. You may as well earn some in-world (or even real-world) currency while you’re at it!

Money in the Newer Virtual Worlds

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Image by TheDigitalWay on Pixabay

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:

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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.

Sansar

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.

Sinespace

Sinespace has two in-world currencies, called silver and gold. According to their wiki:

Gold

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

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

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:

We are currently giving out the currency for anyone interested in participating in the closed beta for High Fidelity Commerce. If you want to get your inital HFC grant, you first need to set up your Wallet.

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.

VRChat

VRChat currently does not have any sort of commerce or in-game currency, although there is a thriving real-world business for people designing and rigging custom avatars for VRChat users. It will be interesting to see what happens when/if the company decides to implement an in-world economy on the most popular of the social VR platforms.

AltspaceVR

As I recently reported, AltspaceVR seems to be gearing up for commerce, but at the moment, there is no commerce or in-game currency system in place.

OpenSim

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!