Friday, May 17, 2013

Linden Lab to Allow Several Third-Party Exchange Services to Reopen, Podex Still Closed.


In a partial reversal of it's earlier ban, Linden Lab announced earlier today that they will be allowing Third-Party Linden exchange services after all. But so far, only five of the many exchangers have met their approval. Plus, the services now operate under tighter and more limiting terms and conditions.


Now, to give users more options and make it easier to purchase L$, we’re launching a pilot program of Authorized Resellers of L$. These sites are authorized by Linden Lab to purchase L$ on the LindeX and then resell those L$ using a variety of international currencies and payment methods. To be clear: per the Terms of Service, these resellers will not be allowed to purchase L$ outside of the LindeX (i.e. they will not be able to buy L$ back from users and cash people out). The list of Authorized Resellers participating in the pilot program is available here.

So far, only five exchange services, now officially called Linden Resellers,  have been approved by Linden Lab. They are AnsheX, Buildo, vForEx, VirWoX, and ZoHaIslands. As of the writing of this article, only two had operational ATMs, Bulido and ZoHa. ZoHa announced the news on their blog, "We are proud to announce that ZoHa Islands became today an Authorized Reseller of Linden Dollars," followed by a short description of what this means and the conditions.

The Podex Exchange, which was shut down early Friday morning, was not among the approved exchange services. On the Podex site, Jacek announced they had applied to become an official reseller, but were still stopped from doing business. On "Hypergrid Business," he stated, "Undoubtfully, it is a great news for residents who are not able to use Linden Lab payment methods. ... It will lower the profits of independent exchanges but gives a sparkle of hope that we can continue our virtual existence."

The new terms and conditions are more limiting for the exchange services than before. From now on, they can only get their Linden Dollars from the official LindeX Exchange, and nowhere else. They can no longer buy back Lindens from residents for US dollars or any other currency.

These new terms mean Linden Lab now has a more tighter rein on where it's Linden dollars go. It's very likely they were made with the US Treasury Department's FinCEN (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network) new guidelines about virtual currency in mind. Other conditions include resellers taking steps to "take commercially reasonable steps to prevent and deter credit card and similar types of fraud." They're also required to make sure no business is done with or anyone from any country with which the United States has an embargo with, such as Cuba or Iran.

The new terms have one serious weakness. With residents unable to sell Lindens to anyone but the Lab, Second Life business owners dependent on Third-Party exchangers to convert Lindens to real currency are still out of luck. It's possible that there may be changes in the terms and conditions in the near future to allow this.

So why didn't Linden Lab offer something like this earlier? A few residents in forum threads and article comments thought the Lab was genuinely surprised by how many expressed anger at the move and how many were dependent on the Third Party Exchanges. Other posters expressed suspicion that all this was really about FinCEN, feeling profit was their main motive, noting everyone would have to use LindeX, including the resellers, one poster on SL Universe commenting, "This is a brilliant plan to let Anshe stay in business … ACS and the other land barons have all this L$ they get directly they can sell. Everyone else has to buy it on the Lindex, mark it up, and resell it."

Residents are breathing a sigh of relief, but Linden Lab has once again shaken the confidence of Second Life's users.

The Podex Exchange (http://www.podex.info/) is a sponsor of Second Life Newser.

Links:  Official forums, SL Universe forums, Gwyneth LlewelynHypergrid Business, New World NotesHamlet Au,

Bixyl Shuftan

2 comments:

  1. Shockwave YareachMay 17, 2013 at 9:42 PM

    And LL has the nerve to wonder why so many of their former cheerleaders have turned against them?

    Second Life has no future, because LL won't allow SL businessmen the stability to run a business, nor the average user the freedom to do what they feel like doing. The ONLY thing SL has to sell is that it's a fantasyland -- if you cannot have your fantasy, SL has nothing to sell. Every action the lab makes only makes me wonder how this group turned their world of freedom into a gulag.

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  2. Well Shocker, I imagine fans of "Dilbert" are seldom truly shocked by Linden Lab.

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