Is Linden Lab For Sale?

Even though it doesn’t affect me directly, I’ve been following the blog reports about Linden Lab’s new Terms of Service change regarding third-party currency exchanges. I’m still waiting and wondering if another shoe is going to drop.

LL could certainly give some reassurance and stop conjecture and rumor by explaining why they are doing this. But that makes too much sense for LL to consider. The top three guesses I’m seeing in the places that are talking about this are: it’s related to the US Treasury Department’s guidance statement from a few weeks ago; LL wants to eliminate all the competition so they can make all the transaction fees; the L$ is going to become a token and cashing out will not be allowed.

But then I read the latest report on Hypergrid Business which included an interview with Boris Kotovtchikhine, director of Cash Services, whose customers are primarily in France. That section of the article ended with this sentence, “Like others, Kotovtchikhine is wondering whether Linden Lab is deliberately taking steps to shut down Second Life altogether.”

Yikes!!

While Boris and “others” may be wondering that, it certainly hadn’t crossed my mind. But reading that sentence caused me to look at my L$ balance. As I’ve tiered down completely in the last few months and just have a couple of rental parcels, I don’t leave much in the account but I took a look anyway. My current L$ total comes to about 16 USD. I can afford to lose that amount if SL closes so I took no action. Cashing out, having SL continue and then buying new L$ to pay my rent is too much of a hassle and would cost money.

So, then I sat back and thought, “What if this isn’t the usual LL secrecy over something that really isn’t such a big deal. What if there IS a big deal going on here? What could it be?”

If LL is “deliberately taking steps to shut down Second Life altogether,” what would cause them to be in such a position as to shut off a cash cow? I’d just begun to conjure up a scenario that could explain such an unlikely event when something more likely entered my little brain…

Maybe LL is selling Second Life. Or maybe Linden Lab itself is up for sale.

Hmmm.

I’m not stating that is what is going on although I could create a scenario in which outlawing third-party money exchanges and complete secrecy would be early steps in a sale process. But then I can create a scenario in which Nixon or someone close to him was responsible for the deaths of JFK, MLK, RFK and the attempt on George Wallace. But I’m not a conspiracy theorist.

Just sayin’.

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About Danko Whitfield

writer, explorer of virtual worlds. semi-retired time traveler.
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6 Responses to Is Linden Lab For Sale?

  1. Let’s just say that LL was planning to shut down. Would the current Linden balance of all SL users combined be a liability to them? That is to say, would they owe the Dollar or Euro equivalent of the sum of all those balances to all of its users? If so, they might want to somehow manage that in such a way as to limit their potential liability.

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  2. BTW, I’ve been to the center of the Metaverse and back. This is a snap I took of it: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7322/8730392694_03a27c655d_b.jpg

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  3. I dont think they are shutting down, yet. SL is still a cash cow for the boys. They can milk it for a year or 2 (or 3?) more, tis my guess 😉 Though i shall admit i withdraw most of my L$ today :}

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  4. Anonymous says:

    The Lindex and L$ trade are not cash cows and never were [insert the usual eye rolling snark about their ham-handed mismanagement here]. Managing the L$ trade as an MSB will be orders of magnitude more complicated when there are thrid party abstraction layers ensuring KYC/CDD is all but impossible. Actually preventing that trade is probably the only thing which will prove to be more difficult than that. What a prohibition gets you however is a layer of enforcement capability against the wildcat exchanges, and the means to know first-hand who is trying to take a payout from the platform. From there, you also have a path to issuing licenses to VARs or other such controls, which currently don’t exist under the semi-formal relationships the exhcnages have with LL. This seems far more plausible, given the obvious answers to the questions posed: 1) Why shut down something which prints money (despite the lack of money the lindex makes); and 2) Who on earth would buy it?

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  5. Pingback: Is Linden Lab For Sale? | Journey To The Center...

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