Along with the creator preview video just out today, Linden Lab is releasing some interesting info about the Sansar Dollar, which operates very much like Linden Dollars, in the sense that their value is pinned to the US dollar, but fluctuates according to market demand. Unless I missed another example (and this is certainly the most prominent one), this is the very first virtual currency with real money value in the post-Oculus era of VR.
However, ending speculation among many SLers, no, it will not be immediately possible to buy Sansar Dollars with Linden Dollars, or vice versa:
Linden Lab: The exchange rate between USD and Sansar dollars will be floating and will vary according to supply and demand. The rate will not necessarily be equal to the exchange rate between USD and Linden dollars in Second Life (which is also floating).
To begin with, the exchange rate is about USD1 to S$100.
Road to VR: Can owners of Second Life currency transfer it to Sansar for use there?
Linden Lab: For now at least, not directly. At this time, Second Life users can sell Linden dollars for USD on the LindeX, and then can use those USD to purchase Sansar dollars.
In the future, we could potentially allow Second Life users to buy and sell Sansar dollars for Linden dollars, but because the two platforms will have different business models, fee structures, and exchange rates, we’d want to be careful not to set up a system that could be exploited.
That's very wise, and when it's spelled out that way, it makes me think there never will be an active exchange market between Linden Dollars and Sansar Dollars. Some kind of controlled "buyback" campaign, where users can exchange a set block of Sansar Dollars directly from Linden Lab for a set price of Linden Dollars, is probably the better way to go.
Speaking of which, Tom's Hardware raises a good question about the 500 people who are already in Sansar's early access program:
Tom's Hardware: So, you’ve opened the monetization platform for the 500+ invited creators to sell amongst each other to work out the kinks of the system? [Linden Lab CEO] Ebbe Altbert: Yeah, that's fair. I mean, part of it is for us to make sure that the marketplace and the user experience for buying and selling content is working great. And the whole exchange where people can buy Sansar dollars and spend Sansar dollars and then also redeem back to FIAT currency, and that all that works. But it also enables creators to start monetizing their work...
TH: Correct me if I’m wrong, but this initial injection of Sansar Dollars into the market during a limited developer preview would set those invited developers up to profit, somewhat like initial investors in a company that launches an IPO. Do you think some of these developers will profit from early market fluctuation?
[Linden Lab's] Peter Gray: I mean, you might have speculators, I don't know. This is an interesting point.
EA: Actually, we’ve been starting with a limit on how much you can buy in the first place right now. So there's no one going to suddenly go and buy $10 million worth of Sansars and speculate on the Sansar exchange rate over time. We’re putting a fairly low cap on, because at this point we just want users to just utilize the system until we start to reach a point of having enough users that the friction has been removed. Then that's when we will quickly try to make sure that we get to a stable point as fast as we can.
However stable it gets, it sure seems like this first 500 will have a tremendous advantage over other entrants. Will they come to be called Sansar Barons, just as Second Life's earliest and most successful real estate owners were soon called Land Barons?
Pictured: Sansar scenes created by the 500.
Please share this post: