On August 23rd, Philip Rosedale announced High Fidelity users can now convert High Fidelity Coin (HFC) into U.S. dollars.
This is a major step for the blockchain based crypto-currency used by the platform, and for High Fidelity users. In the latter regard, Rosedale notes:
This opens the possibility for people to earn real money creating and selling virtual goods and services within High Fidelity. We see this as a vital step in the emergence of a thriving High Fidelity economy: the flywheel of innovation and creativity in any marketplace starts when creators have positive incentives to contribute to the growing body of content for sale. In time, we hope creators will be able to support themselves by selling items in the Marketplace, charging for the experiences they create, and offering useful in-world services to other creators and performers.
– Philip Rosedale, High Fidelity CEO
The move is one of three contained within the blog post, and represents the latest stage in High Fidelity’s development of a blockchain-based economy.
In late 2017, the company provided a roadmap for the development of the company’s currency and for IP protection within High Fidelity. Since then, the company has been building steadily towards presenting an infrastructure to allow comprehensive economic activities to take place within High Fidelity, including a comprehensive means to track and protect original IP on content. As such, the ability for users to convert HFCs to fiat money (US dollars) is part of this wider programme.
The HFC / USD exchange rate is fixed by High Fidelity at 100 HFC to the US dollar. The cashing-out process is currently a manual activity undertaken by High Fidelity in response to user requests made via a BankofHighFidelity appointment, as is explained in a FAQ included with the blog post. This FAQ also indicates:
- It is not currently possible to purchase HFCs – but they can be obtained through the BankofHighFidelity once a user has set-up their Wallet, the focal-point for economic actions.
- Those wishing to convert HFCs to USD can only do so for a minimum of 5000 HFCs per transaction, and must have a PayPal account.
- HFCs cannot currently be converted into other crypto-currencies or tokens – although this (like the ability to directly purchase HFCs) is intended to be a part of the system in the future, again governed through the BankofHighFidelity.
The second part of the blog post is an announcement designed to encourage creators to get involved in wider content creation for High Fidelity:
Creators who have assets already developed, or who prefer to use go-to applications like SketchUp or Google Poly, can now import them into High Fidelity. We’re officially launching support for these applications and others alongside our trading services now that the entire workflow from creation to monetization is in place.
– Philip Rosedale, High Fidelity CEO
The high Fidelity website includes details on how to how to add content to the Marketplace. Supported file formats comprise: models – .FBX and .OBJ; images and textures – .JPG, .PNG, and .TGA; audio – .WAV (mono or stereo or ambisonic, 16-bit at 24 or 48 Khz).
The third announcement in the blog post is aimed at spurring the development of the platform as a whole through the launch the High Fidelity Development Fund. Initially comprising 1 million HFC, this Development Fund will be used to pay developers willing to help develop features and capabilities High Fidelity have defined for the platform.
Projects for these features are (and will be) listed in a public group on the cross-platform Telegram service. Developers interested in taking on a project can then indicate their interest via public chat with a proposed price and time-line for completion. Bids are reviewed by the High Fidelity team, and those gaining approval will receive a public notification of their acceptance. HFCs earned through the fund are eligible for cashing-out if the developer so wishes. Again, refer to the official blog post and FAQ for further details.
Taken together, these three moves represent further significant – and logical – steps in High Fidelity’s growing maturity as a platform, and which could see creators take renewed / further interest in developing for them platform. At the same time, the High Fidelity Development Fund further underlines the open approach the company is taking towards building-out the platform – which is itself becoming something of a signature element in Rosedale’s approach to developing tools and platforms.