A few years ago the virtual world Second Life, created by Philip Rosedale and his team at Linden Lab, was a media darling that made headlines every day. One of the most widely covered aspects of Second Life was its in-world economy based on a virtual currency, the Linden dollar. Thousands of Second Life developers were able to earn a living, and in some cases become rich, by selling virtual objects (avatars, clothing, gadgets) and virtual land for Linden dollars.
Second Life has fallen from media grace, but other virtual worlds and virtual reality massively multiuser videogames are emerging. The Oculus Rift headset is well on its way to revolutionize Virtual Reality (VR) and immersive gaming. Earlier this year Oculus VR was acquired by Facebook for US$2 billion in cash and Facebook stock, leading to speculations that Facebook may soon launch VR applications and virtual worlds. Rosedale is developing his next project, the next-generation VR platform High Fidelity, currently in alpha testing, which will support the Oculus Rift.
What virtual currencies will support the in-world economy of next-generation virtual worlds? Bitcoin comes immediately to mind. There have been many suggestions that Second Life should abandon the Linden dollar and adopt Bitcoin as in-world currency, but Second Life was developed before Bitcoin and everything was in place and working when Bitcoin emerged in 2009. There are indications that the in-world economy of High Fidelity will be based on a cryptocurrency powered by a blockcahain, but no further details are known at this moment. However, High Fidelity is not available to the public yet.
Minecraft is available to the public, and hugely popular. Launched in 2009, Minecraft quickly developed a cult following, became one of the most popular videogames, and was acquired by Microsoft in 2014.
Also read: BitQuest – a Minecraft Videogame with Bitcoin Economy
The BitQuest project is creating a public Minecraft server with a Bitcoin-denominated trading system and unique MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) features. The BitQuest Architecture Royal Prize, a forthcoming construction contest for the best “house, palace, skyscraper, or crazy building,” will award one bitcoin to the lucky winner.
The event will start in around two weeks. Architecture website Archdaily will judge the competition, VentureBeat reports .
For the BitQuest developers, this is all about using one of the most popular games in the world to help further legitimize Bitcoin as the official currency of virtual worlds.
“We are a bunch of crazy gamers who want to make bitcoin the official currency of virtual worlds. Minecraft is the perfect platform to start the revolution.”
Do you think other virtual worlds will follow BitQuest’s example and adopt Bitcoin as in-world currency? Comment below!
Images from BitQuest, Barone Firenze and Shutterstock.