Seems everyone is reporting the shuttering of businesses within Second Life as something called CopyBot is unleashed within the virtual realm. Seems people involved with an official project of SL that reverse-engineers the code decided there was a need to be able to replicate objects at no cost. Needless to say, people with virtual businesses quickly realized the threat to profit motive and started shutting down.
The economic dynamic of SL fascinates me, and I'm wondering why I haven't yet heard about any of the following yet:
- The IRS claiming jurisdiction and setting up line items on 1040 forms for "virtual income."
- Money-laundering schemes.
- RL articles about how a significant volume of transactions in Linden Dollars or any other virtual currency can muck with the money supply.
- Drug dealing, with dealers meeting clients in SL and conducting transactions in Linden Dollars or setting up RL drop points.
As SL grows, it makes me wonder how many aspects of the hidden economy within the U.S. and other countries will infiltrate SL. It also makes me wonder about whether state, local or federal governments will try to collect tax revenue. Furthermore, will financial whiz kids take advantage of relatively unregulated markets to launch scams that are strict no-nos IRL, but unaddressed in SL? Shit, who's going to be the first to launch a derivatives market, insurance or pump and dump scam in SL?