The rise of virtual money

Ask any economics student and they will tell you all about how money is created by banks and lending systems and what it does to our economy. However, the creators of online games and virtual worlds have also been instrumental in creating virtual money. From Linden dollars (that’s the currency used in Second Life) to World of Warcraft (WoW) gold, different virtual societies are driven by this virtual currency and interestingly end up with their own economic systems that model real-life economics really well.

Second Life uses a model that mimics real life, however, there are a number of MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games) that use virtual money as reward and as a way to advance in the game. This has given rise to a massive industry in virtual goods and services that is predicted to hit $4 billion in 2008.

This has given rise to a wealth of possibilities for individuals and businesses working in these economies and reaping real world benefits. From people who develop and sell property in Second Life to companies who sell and buy WoW gold, there are hundreds of opportunities out there for people to tap into. All it takes is a spark of ingenuity and the drive to follow through with your ideas.

I remember reading an article about this in Time or one of the other magazines you find on the newstands. Does anyone remember which one it was?


  1. Does this mean that the virtual world is more real than the real world. It certainly is a good place to try out ideas. In fact that has given me a really good idea.

  2. There’s an entire industry around selling virtual currency.

    While I’m all for the entrepreneurial spirit of it, I know that buying/selling gold violates the End User License Agreement with Blizzard for World of Warcraft.

    Personally it frustrates me because it has a negative impact on the in-game economy, creating an artificially introduced inflation of prices. It also creates an un-level playing field…a bad player who spends little time in the game but has a lucrative income in Real Life can acquire tons of gold, while a good player who plays alot but can’t afford to buy it in Real Life may have less gold.

    I prefer to make my own gold, the legal way, without risking getting my account banned.

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