30 May '12, 9pm

Virtual Currency Gets Real

Virtual currency is what you use to pay for a virtual tractor for your virtual farm or for a healing elixir for your avatar. But the market for digital scrip is expanding, leading some to speculate that virtual currencies will one day grow so large that they’ll have a big effect on real-world economies. Opinions are split about whether that will be a good thing or a bad thing. What’s beyond dispute is the fact that business is booming. Revenues from the sale of virtual goods in online games and social networks is expected to rise to an estimated US $2.4 billion this year in the United States alone—up a good 40 percent over last year, according to researchers at Javelin Strategy & Research, based in Pleasanton, Calif. Some estimates suggest the global market could be 10 times as big . One of the big drivers of this growth is Facebook, which now boasts 
more than 900 million...

Full article: http://spectrum.ieee.org/computing/networks/virtual-curre...

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