Well real life banking has proved to be a total disaster lately with Scottish banks in particular making a stunning mess of things. While the real world economy seems to be struggling virtual worlds are turning over more and more cash every year.
Gaming economies have been growing steadily and the amount of money changing hands in virtual worlds has now reached impressive heights. One of the leading examples is the MMO Entropia which boasts the most expensive sale ever in an MMO. It is now set to rake in even more money with the news that the developers, Mindark are about to open fully functioning banks which will allow you to deposit your wages, pay bills or even borrow cash from the in-game bank. They claim that over $400 million changed hands in Entropia last year.
The Entropia economy has an exchange rate of 10 Project Entropia Dollars to 1 real US dollar. It is a free piece of software but the game is full of micro-payment transactions, basically you can buy all sorts of content or pay for various services in the game world. Some people are even making a living from it.
The Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority have actually granted them a license so virtual banking is now tied to the real world. They have deposit insurance up to $60,000 and to combat fears of criminal money laundering they are giving regulators oversight of the transactions.
With all that cash you’d think Entropia would have more users, they claim nearly a million registered but regular users number under 100,000. Anyone fancy joining up? I’m looking to put together a crew for the first virtual bank heist in history.