Korea Doesn't Want That Virtual Currency To Be Traded For Real Money
from the and-you-will-do-this-how-exactly? dept
It’s not like people haven’t been warning others around the world about the potential tricky issues that come up with online worlds and offline laws — but it seems that no one paid much attention and everyone simply plowed onwards. As these worlds gain more attention and users (though, perhaps not as many as the press would have you believe), governments are increasingly taking an interest in them. There’s the obvious issue of taxation of virtual winnings, which some governments are starting to explore, but a bigger issue may be the secondary economies found within these worlds, and what that means for government-level monetary policy. The idea that of these kinds of secondary currency systems forming beneath the surface of official currencies is nothing new at all, but are usually narrowly focused on local communities. However, when that “local community” suddenly gets much bigger thanks to the internet, it can represent a big issue.
It appears that South Korean politicians are trying to tackle this issue, but are doing so badly. They’ve put forth legislation that would ban the trading of virtual currencies, as an attempt to cut off the use of in-game money as an alternative to real money. Of course, trading virtual currencies and objects from within these games is a big part of the appeal of the games — and has proven pretty much unstoppable for games that have tried to prevent it from happening. Black markets open up very quickly. To make matters even worse, the South Korean proposal only looks to ban the trading of in-game currencies, not in-game items. In other words, all you need to do if you want to trade in-game currency is buy some sort of object in the game, and then trade or sell that, and you’ve now stayed within the law, but accomplished the same exact thing. It’s no surprise that governments are worried about these non-regulated currencies, but simply announcing a ban on trading them clearly isn’t going to be very effective.