It’s now a month since the furore over the changes made to the Second Life Terms of Service relating to the buying and selling of Linden Dollars (L$) and which lead to the Lab writing to third-party exchanges (TPEs) requesting they cease trading L$.
Immediately following the change – which was officially referred to as an “anti-fraud” measure by the Lab, there was a lot of speculation as to the cause of the changes, most of it related to the guidelines issued in March by the US Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement network (FinCEN), which I originally reported on back in April. There was also a good degree of confusion in the days following the announcement, with some exchanges receiving notification of a possible opportunity to resume some for of operations, while others found their SL accounts suspended, before everything was finally resolved with what some are referring to as a “climb down” by the Lab with the establishment of the “Linden Dollar Authorised Reseller Programme”.
Whether the original move was a direct result of the publication of FinCEN’s guidelines is actually somewhat debatable – as I’ve commented here across several articles. For example, blocking TPEs doesn’t actually mitigate the Lab’s own exposure as an MSB as FinCEN currently sees things; for another FinCEN gave all companies not compliant with their regulations six months to put their houses in order, and at the time LL announced the ToS change, barely two of those months had passed.
Again, as pointed out within this blog, there’s a reasonable argument to suggest that the change could have been a clumsy grab at revenue the Lab felt it was missing out on. One which may have been thought through in blinkered terms and put into play without any real understanding of how the move would actually impact a reasonable proportion of SL users.
However, whatever the reasons, things appear to have calmed down somewhat, and in the 22 days since the launch of the Authorised Reseller Programme, some 29 organisations have signed-up and are now listed on the Linden Lab Official: Linden Dollar (L$) Authorized Reseller Programme wiki page.
The wiki page provides basic information on those organisations which have registered for the programme, including the currencies and payment methods they will accept from people wishing to purchase L$.
SL resident Uzi Boa (Joanna Bogacz in real life) has also compiled a reference guide for SL users wishing to purchase L$.
This provides the same information as the official website, but also includes details on typical prices charged for the purchase of L$1,000. She further breaks the list of authorised resellers into two parts: those which are operating as expected (i.e. accessible websites and services) – which total 16, and those which are described as “listed by LL but not operating or with website error” (12 in all), for a total of 28 TPEs. Hypno is listed on the LL wiki page but does not appear on Uzi’s page at the time of writing, or to actually be offering any services (the website noting that “webpage is only in Czech language. This time we are not able to accept random custommers from alien countries”).
Commenting on the comparison page to Maria Korolov in Hypergrid Business, Uzi stated she plans to try to maintain the information on the page and keep it as up-to-date as possible for the benefit of SL users.
If you’re unwilling / unable to use the LindeX for direct L$ purchases, Uzi’s page could be a handy resource for you.
- Linden Dollar (L$) Authorized Reseller Programme official wiki page
- TPEs listed by LL as Authorised L$ Resellers, organised by best price – Uzi Boa
- 29 exchanges approved to sell Lindens – Hypergrid Business
- More Options for Buying Linden Dollars – Linden Lab
With thanks to Maria Korolov