Sansar and Blockchain? – Ebbe Altberg

The site The Next Web has an article about how blockchain currency is democratizing the virtual world, VR, and real life. The Sansar Project gets into it because Ebbe Altberg is quoted. Not because Sansar will use a cryptocurrency.

First, do you know what a blockchain currency is? I barely do. Quoting:

A blockchain is a digitized, decentralized public ledger of cryptocurrency transactions. Essentially each ‘block’ is like an individual bank statement. Completed ‘blocks’ (the most recent transactions) are added in chronological order allowing market participants to keep track of the transactions without the need for central record keeping. Just as Bitcoin eliminates the need for a third party to process or store payments, and isn’t regulated by a central authority, users in any blockchain structure are responsible for validating transactions whenever one party pays another for goods or services.

That explanation isn’t all that helpful. If you think of a cryptocurrency as a paper dollar that you print but yet cannot be forged and shows who paid for it and printed it… you sort of get an idea. This is extreme free market stuff and requires a good grounding in free-market economics to make sense.

Dollars

Dollars

Blockchain currencies and other cryptocurrencies depend on complex encryption processes requiring huge amounts of computer time.  No one seems to think about how quantum computing may change the game. So, for now, these new currencies are the hot thing. Hot as in one currency project raised US$25 million in less than a minute.

I suppose it is the freedom from the control of centralized governments where politicians try to control us that makes them so valuable.

It has been Second Life™ that has lead the way in establishing ownership of digital goods. Quoting:

The notion of monetizing Virtual Real Estate and assets is far from new, however. Second Life (SL), the longest enduring commercial virtual world launched back in 2003 thrives on the principle of enabling users to make money from digital assets.

We still use basic US currency as the medium of commerce. And that is not likely to change with Second Life or Sansar. Quoting:

With Sansar, Linden Lab is now laying its own stake to that next-generation of virtual worlds by offering similar functions to High Fidelity in terms of development, yet taking a more user-centric approach which also focuses on enabling monetization for individual users, who can earn Sansar Dollars (S$) for their VR creations. This in-world currency can be cashed into various currencies via PayPal and traded on a dedicated online exchange called the Sandex. This built-in economy with real-world application is borrowed directly from Second Life and its Linden Dollar (L$).

I was expecting Linden Dollars to be part of Sansar. I have not heard why this has changed. Nor have I heard any details on how S$ and L$ may be exchanged. Are we going to be charged fees as we sell off L$ to buy S$ or vice versa?

But, one virtual world is considering not only allowing users to own digital goods, but to own digital currency.

What makes Decentraland fundamentally different from other emerging virtual platforms is that it’s not only the content that will be owned by users, but the platform itself. This means the community will also have collective responsibility for regulating it. According to its creators, the blockchain structure – which uses the Ethereum network – creates a mechanism for consensus among strangers that allows this to work at scale.

Sounds a bit utopian to me. But, I’ll admit there are possibilities and people pull off surprising things. So, it may work. While I’m not betting on it I am also not going to stand in front of that train.

This leaves me wondering if Linden Lab is missing a boat? The VR level of virtual worlds is a huge unknown. To add in the unknowns from the use of a cryptocurrency and the response of politicians as they lose control increases the risks exponentially. So, not being on this cryptocurrency boat may be a wise choice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.