01:01 PM
Connect Directly

Virtual Money Presents Real Legal Problems

Introducing a virtual currency in an online game or social Web site isn't simply a way to print money without paper.

Virtual money has real value and companies that operate online games, having recognized that selling nothing for something can create a profitable revenue stream, are rushing to cash-in on the imaginary economy.

The signs are everywhere. On February 25, social monetization company gWallet introduced the gWallet Brand Bar, an interactive banner ad that appears at the top of browser-based game screens to make interactions involving virtual currency easier. Gurbaksh Chahal, CEO and founder of gWallet, called virtual currency "a thriving industry."

On February 18, Facebook and PayPal said that PayPal had become a payment option for Facebook Credits, the virtual currency used in a rising number of Facebook games.

"Today more than 500,000 applications exist on Facebook, and the virtual goods within those applications (particularly games) have become an increasingly valuable part of the user experience," explained Deborah Liu, a product marketer on the Facebook Developer Network team, in a blog post last week week. "By providing a single, cross-application currency, our goal is to making transactions simpler for users, leading to a higher conversion rate for developers."

Facebook has been testing Facebook Credits with a select number of large developers, including Crowdstar, Playdom, Playfish, RockYou, 6waves, and Zynga. It plans to invite additional developers into its program in the months ahead.

On February 9, Offerpal Media, a virtual currency distributor, introduced "Offerpal Tasks," a way for consumers to collect virtual currency for online games and social networks in exchange for the completion of Amazon Mechanical Turk jobs.

Dax Hansen, a partner in law firm Perkins Coie's Electronic Financial Services practice, observes that "points," "coins," "bucks," and other forms of virtual currency are becoming commonplace at online gaming sites, social media sites, and among retailers and other businesses.

1 of 2
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Five Emerging Security Threats - And What You Can Learn From Them
At Black Hat USA, researchers unveiled some nasty vulnerabilities. Is your organization ready?
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
Published: 2015-10-15
The Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) subsystem in the Linux kernel through 4.x mishandles requests for Graphics Execution Manager (GEM) objects, which allows context-dependent attackers to cause a denial of service (memory consumption) via an application that processes graphics data, as demonstrated b...

Published: 2015-10-15
netstat in IBM AIX 5.3, 6.1, and 7.1 and VIOS 2.2.x, when a fibre channel adapter is used, allows local users to gain privileges via unspecified vectors.

Published: 2015-10-15
Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability in eXtplorer before 2.1.8 allows remote attackers to hijack the authentication of arbitrary users for requests that execute PHP code.

Published: 2015-10-15
Directory traversal vulnerability in QNAP QTS before 4.1.4 build 0910 and 4.2.x before 4.2.0 RC2 build 0910, when AFP is enabled, allows remote attackers to read or write to arbitrary files by leveraging access to an OS X (1) user or (2) guest account.

Published: 2015-10-15
Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) 1.1j allows local users to gain privileges via vectors involving addition of an SSH key, aka Bug ID CSCuw46076.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
According to industry estimates, about a million new IT security jobs will be created in the next two years but there aren't enough skilled professionals to fill them. On top of that, there isn't necessarily a clear path to a career in security. Dark Reading Executive Editor Kelly Jackson Higgins hosts guests Carson Sweet, co-founder and CTO of CloudPassage, which published a shocking study of the security gap in top US undergrad computer science programs, and Rodney Petersen, head of NIST's new National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education.