News reports have come out that China has both defined ‘virtual currency’ and barred the use of that currency for purchase of real world goods. In theory, this is to combat certain underground uses of vitrual money by limiting their use to the purchase of virtual items. In practice, however, it could prevent the spread of virtual worlds like Second Life into China. Based on the Chinese definition of ‘virtual currency,’ the Linden Dollar used in Second Life is undoubtedly covered, and thus the interplay between the Linden Dollar and real currency would likely be problematic, though the use of Linden Dollars to purchase in-world goods may not be. It will be interesting to see how this continues to play out, especially in view of last year’s finding that a virtual seizure had a real world value in China.
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