The Yale Law School blog, LawMeme, has a good entry posted (Link) concerning the thinning barrier between virtual world banks and real world legalities. In this case, the post centers its crosshairs on activities that have been occurring in the massive EVE Online virtual universe. The case involves the player-created Eve Intergalactic Bank and how, after accumulating what must have been a fair chunk of change – transferable to real life currency – the player/owner abruptly shut down the operation and made off with the… something.
I’d heard of EIB, but only through some peripheral reading. However, I do know that similar activities may be occurring in less game-like virtual environs; namely Second Life. This is all fascinating stuff which has ties to something of particular interest to me: 3D data that is portable from real production to virtual worlds and back again. Money issues will likely set the precedents, but money is not the only thing of real world value.
Anyway, check out the entry and maybe head over to Terra Nova where they’ve been discussing this as well (Link).