L$ resellers update: 29 registered and prices now compared

secondlifeIt’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.

At of June 8th, 2013, 29 organisations have signed-up to the programme

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.

Related Links

With thanks to Maria Korolov


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Flattered in Second Life

On June 7th, I wrote a piece about the A’stra main stage at SL10BCC. At the risk of repeating myself, this is a truly stunning build by Today Nakamura and Flea Bussy. As a part of the article, I post-processed some of the images I captured of the stage and turned them into drawings / paintings of the build to create a little illustrative narrative to go with the post.

I subsequently uploaded a couple of the images to my Flickr stream and then to the SL10BCC Flickr Group, where I think Toady may have seen them and found inspiration, as Flea IM’d me while I was offline, and left me a message with a clue:

Shhhh! When you have a moment, maybe peek at the front of A’stra, near the angle you took the photo from…well, or we could say, painted!  Toady saw your painting and well…you’ll see!

Intrigued, I pulled on my exploring boots, spent a few minutes burning incense at the Alter of the GPU asking that my Ge9800 GT hold itself together for an in-world visit (It’s been struggling badly the last 48 hours, and not only on the SL10BCC regions, which are already quite densely packed with textures), and jumped in-world.

What I found was lovely, and – I have to say – deeply flattering. There’s a new little promontory leading from the “mainland” paths bordering the stage, and on it … well, see for yourselves…

"The artist"
“The artist”

I actually think he’s doing a much better job than I did…

"The artist"
“The artist”

So, thank you, Toady and Flea!

The artist adds a wonderful additional touch to the build – and I’m not saying that because the inspiration for him may have come from my pictures. There is a wealth of detail and many  incredible touches from both Flea and Toady which bring this stage to life as you wander through it, and the artist adds another gem to that detail. Keep your eyes out for him once the regions open!

Related Links

P.S. if you’re curious, the first image above may appear to have had a degree of post-processing. It hasn’t. It was produced purely through tweaking windlight via William Weaver’s Phototools, allow me to draw more attention to the figure of the artist.

A half hitch and a crow’s nest

As regulars here will know, I’m kind-of into SL sailing and flying, have written about both rather a lot since tumbling into both quite by chance, with my most recent acquisition for the former being the E-Tech Sparrow,  which is leaning me dangerously close to seeing if I can rent some water-front land somewhere (I have modest needs; nothing larger than 2048 sq metre & room enough for a cottage, a bit of landscaping and a dock…).

However, it occurred to me that while I have been out on (and over) the water rather a lot over the past few months, particularly on Blake Sea, I’ve never actually blogged about places there – and there is rather a lot to see and do, beside sailing / flying.

Blake Sea Half Hitch
Blake Sea Half Hitch

Take Half Hitch, for example. This is one of the areas in Blake Sea where you can rez your own boat (or seaplane or submarine – whatever takes you), and set out to explore the ocean blue. It’s like that many people arriving there never get beyond the quayside landing point and rez zone, which is a shame, as there is a lot to poke about at on the island – just take a wander through the cave at the landward end of the quay.

Blake Sea Half Hitch
Blake Sea Half Hitch

On the other side of the cave tunnel is a sheltered port, complete with breakwater, a lighthouse and warning buoys to guide boats in, and quays and buildings which form a part of a small fishing “community” – there’s even a trawler sitting dockside, either getting up steam to sail on the morning tide or which may have recently returned to port after a day’s fishing.

Blake Sea Half Hitch
Blake Sea Half Hitch

Now, the build is admitted not state-of-the-art. Some of the rock formations on the north side of the island are decidedly spherical, some of the textures are a tad low-res – but remember, everything around Blake Sea is designed to be low-lag to aid the flying and sailing and – in particular – to assist with any racing which may be going on. And anyway, “dated” doesn’t necessarily mean “not worth exploring”.

Blake Sea Half Hitch
Blake Sea Half Hitch

There are lots of little corners to poke and pry at here, and even more opportunities for the SL photographer. Those who want to try their hands with sailing can also find a demo boat rezzer which will help them take to the water and skim around a bit, and there are some nice little look-out points to watch the world go by or where you can watch any racing taking place.

Those who do take to the water and sail west may well encounter the Crow’s Nest Lighthouse, which has again featured in some pictures in this blog. This is actually a build based on a real life lighthouse (Fastnet Rock), and, if you have your draw distance down somewhat (something of a good idea when sailing / flying), appears as a reminded of what a lonely and isolated lives lighthouse keepers once had to lead.

Blake Sea Crows Nest
Blake Sea Crows Nest

I managed to grab one shot in particular of the lighthouse while flying east out of Hollywood Airport a couple of months ago, which I think really demonstrates this last point, even if it’s not necessarily the most artistic of shots.

Blake Sea Crows Nest
Blake Sea Crows Nest

Should you opt to land at the lighthouse, there’s not a lot to actually see inside the lighthouse – although if you look hard enough, you’ll find a picture of the real life original. – but that’s not the point, it’s a great little build in its own right which does much to enhance Blake Sea, as well as providing a useful way-point for sailors. Outside of the lighthouse tower, however – and as pointed out by Lance Corrimal in the comment below – there is a memorial for all members of the SL Sailing community who have passed away.

There’s a lot else to see out on the Sea  – so if you haven’t given it a try, why not have a mooch around the waters?

Related Links

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Blake Sea Half Hitch

With thanks to Lance Corrimal for the update.