Update, August 1st: please also refer to this August 1st blog post from Linden Lab: Tilia Officially Begins Operations Today in Second Life.
On Friday July 12th Linden Lab hosted a town hall meeting on the subject of Tilia Inc., and forthcoming changes will affect those who have a US dollar (USD) balance associated with their Second Life account, and / or who transfer US dollar amounts out of Second Life.
The session involved:
The session was moderated by Brett Linden, Head of Marketing for Second Life.
The following is a summary of that meeting, which addressed questions asked both through the official Tilia Q&A forum thread and during the meeting itself concerning Tilia and the announced changes.
Questions were selected on the basis of how broad an audience they might affect. Numerous questions of an account-specific nature, or applicable to specific country circumstances had been received (and were put forward at the meeting); however, due to the very specific nature of any answers relating to them, these were deferred with the recommendation that all such specific questions such be filed with support.
It was also noted that questions will also continue to be addressed through the official Tilia Q&A forum thread going forward.
A note on the structure of this summary
The format of the event – including questions being asked multiple times, and / or not being grouped together means that this is not a full transcript of the session.
Instead, I have attempted to gather questions into logical topic headings and provide bullet-points of responses, together with direct quotes from either Grumpity or Patch where I felt they might offer greater clarity.
In addition, the video of the event ad recorded by Peetie Auer of SL4Live – TV is embedded at the end of this article, for those who would prefer to watch it. In addition, topics and questions in recorded in this summary include time stamps to the video. This will open the video in a separate browser tab and at the relevant point in the meeting, to again allow responses to be heard first-hand.
My thanks to Peetie for agreeing to my use of the video.
Summary: How Do the Tilia Changes Affect YOU?
If you have a US dollar balance associated with your Second Life Account on August 1st, 2019, or if you add a US Dollar balance to your Second Life account on or after August 1st, 2019 (e.g. by converting Linden Dollars to US dollars via the LindeX):
You will be required to consent to the Tilia Terms of Service.
In addition, if you wish to credit process all or any part of that US dollar balance (that is, transfer it out of Second Life to PayPal or Skrill or another supported method) on or after August 1st, 2019, and have not already provided personal information to Linden Lab as a part of the credit process:
(Note: you do not have to provide personal information if you have US dollar balance as of August 1st but never transfer funds out of Second Life – as per the note above, you will only need to agree to the Tilia Terms of Service.)
If you do not have a US dollar balance associated with your Second Life account on or after August 1st, 2019, and only buy L$ amounts:
What Is Tilia Inc?
Tilia Inc., is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Linden Lab. It was formed in 2014 and is focused on payments and the compliance work associated with operating virtual economies. As a part of this, it will provide services for both Second Life and Sansar.
Specifically in reference to Second Life, Tilia Inc., will, from August 1st, 2019, take over the management of all US dollar (USD) account balances user may have associated with Second Life. As such, it is central to the Lab’s work in seeking federal and state registration as a US Money Transmitter a form of regulated Money Service Business – MSB) and to comply with all US laws regarding the movement of money. This had been a stated goal within the Lab pretty much since Ebbe Altberg joined the company as CEO.
Note: while it is not relevant to this meeting or how users’ USD account balances are managed, I have written (and speculated) more broadly about Tilia Inc., in Tilia – a further look and a little more speculation.
The “Tilia Account” and “Tilia Wallet” / “US Dollar Wallet”
Two terms that have caused confusion amount users are “Tilia Account” and “Tilia Wallet” / “USD Wallet”.
- The Tilia Account is the mechanism that will be used, from August 1st, 2019 to manage all US Dollar balances associated with Second Life (viewed via Account > Account Summary on your Dashboard at secondlife.com) and for managing transferring US dollar amounts from Second Life (viewed via Account > Credit Process on your Dashboard at secondlife.com).
- You are effectively logged-in to it when you log-in to your Second Life account at secondlife.com. There is no separate “Tilia log-in” required.
- The Tilia Wallet / US Dollar Wallet is, in simple terms, the US dollar balance associated with a Second Life account.
- By default all “real money” balances (referred to as fiat money) held on a Second Life account is denominated in US dollars (USD).
- Processing credit from Second Life (referred to as cashing out by many in the community) is expressed in US dollars, but can be converted to local currency by your preferred payment option (e.g. PayPal).
Does Tilia Affect Those Who Only Buy and Use Linden Dollars?
- There is no need to provide any additional information to Linden Lab for purchasing L$.
- Users can still purchase L$ amounts exactly as they have done prior to the August 1st, 2019 changes – through the viewer, via the Second Life LindeX web page, using credit cards and or other recorded payment options associated with their account.
- Users are only affected if users have US Dollar balances, on or after August 1st, 2019, and / or who wsh to process credit their USD balances out of SL.
The changes specifically apply to USD credit processing and there’s no impact on the routine purchase of Linden Dollars we don’t need your ID we don’t need your sisters maiden name we don’t need your first-born and don’t even need a blood sample. You will continue to buy Linden Dollars as you did before.
– Grumpity Linden [video: 11:44]
Tilia Terms of Service
Only those who have a USD wallet [balance] need to accept the Tilia Terms of Service and if you are one of those people then you will see the Tilia Terms of Service and [you will] need to accept them when you log into your account on the web.
– Grumpity Linden [video: 7:39]
How do users with US Dollar balances on their account consent to the Tilia Terms of Service? – By logging-in to their account via the secondlife.com website.
What if a user doesn’t want to consent to the Tilia Terms of Service?
So if you don’t have a USD balance and you don’t plan on having a USD balance and you will not sell Linden Dollars to acquire a USD balance, you don’t need to do anything. You will not be required to accept the terms of service and literally nothing changes.
If you do currently have a USD balance and you don’t want to accept the Tilia Terms of Service, you need to basically get rid of it; you need to either complete a process credit of your entire USD balance before August 1st, or spend that USD balance in Second Life. You can buy Linden [Dollars], pay for land, pay for a Premium membership etc. If you have a USD balance come August 1st, you will need to accept the Tilia Terms of Service.
– Grumpity Linden [video: 8:13]
Who has to supply their information with Tilia, why must they, and what is the process?
- Only those who wish to process credit USD amounts from Second Life to accounts outside of SL will have to provide personal information.
- As a Money Transmitter / MSB, Tilia is required to collect data verifying the identity of those using its services to transfer money, regardless as to whether they have registered with other financial institutions (e.g. a credit card company or PayPal). Verification is required under US laws such as:
- If information has been previously provided, LL will try to ensure that is re-used. However, some people may still be asked to re-supply information, and some may be asked for additional information.
- Non-US citizens are required to provide a recognised proof of identity (e.g. passport, driver’s license or similar). However, if there are questions over this, contact Linden Lab’s support teams, who have been briefed and will be able to assist.
- Also refer to the Tilia FAQ.
- No information needs to be submitted if you only purchase L$, unless you convert them to US dollars and then attempt to transfer all or part of the US dollar balance out of SL.
We’re working on making that process available now in advance so that you can process credit with as little disruption as possible … I don’t want anybody having to wait. We do not yet have a date as to when this will happen, but expect it … probably like next week. We’ll announce it when it will become available, and we’ll make sure that the step-by-step instructions for the Tilia ID verification process is public as soon as we can.
– Patch Linden [video: 13:16]
How will user’s data be safeguarded?
- There will be an official blog post on how the data will be stored and protected.
- Short summary:
- All the Lab’s processes on the handling and storage of users personal data are in compliance with the applicable US laws (see above for examples).
- Once verified, the data is stored in an encrypted form in compliance with data protection laws and regulations.
- The data will not be shared with any third-party or used for any other purposes (e.g. marketing, etc.).
- The data will not be shared with the US or any other government unless the Lab is compelled to do so (e.g. a subpoena or search warrant).
- Tilia (with reference to the Linden Lab Terms of Service Section 8) is compliant with relevant data protection laws outside of the United States (e.g. the European General Data Protection Act (GDPR)).
- Specific concerns should be raised through the support team.
Town Hall Questions Related Personal Information
If I’ve already provided LL with information in order to cash-out, why do I have to supply it again? – Generally speaking, no; but there may be occasions where this is not the case. [Video: 28:58-30:39]
Another thing we’re working on to make that easier and clearer is an indicator in your account page which will show whether you’ve been cleared to process credit or not. And so you’ll see a little green check mark that says ‘we’ve got all your information and you’re clear in a process credit’ or a little, ‘we’ll need more information from you when you’re ready to process credit’ with a link.
One of the things again that we’re working to submit your documents ahead of the August 1st date, so that if you expecting to process credit on August 2nd, you’re not delayed in any way you can submit them in advance and know that your documents been verified.
It [the indicator] will be in your account same place you would log in to view your USD balance for example or to request a process credit. Obviously, we’ll post about that when it’s ready.
– Grumpity Linden [video: 29:26]
What forms of identity are acceptable for non-US users? Any government-issued ID should be acceptable (passport, driver’s licence, etc). [Video: 30:58-31:33]
Will personal information eve need to be re-submitted due to, for example, a change of address, a change in marital status, etc? – Yes (e.g. through the provisioning of a marriage certificate, etc). [Video: 38:16-39:00]
Is Tilia linked to the US Internal Revenue Service (or other government entity)? – Tilia will not provide any personal information to a government agency. However, Tilia is required to report certain information related to money movements – but this will be the same information as already reported by Linden Lab. [Video 43:04-43:54]
How should personal information be supplied? Are originals required? – if the requisite information is not on file for a user, when they try to transfer US dollar amounts out of Second Life through the Process Credit page (secondlife.com > Account > Process Credit), they will receive direct guidance. [Video:55:49-57:03]
The Inactivity Fee
How does it work? Why is it being introduced? How much will it be?
- The fee will not affect anyone until August 2020.
- When it comes into effect, it will only affect Second Life accounts that a) have a US dollar balance b) have not been logged-in to via the secondlife.com website in over 12 months.
- Can be avoided just by logging-in to your Second Life account at secondlife.com on the web and looking at your Account Summary just once a year.
- The fee is related to managing and maintaining the USD account and balance, and in continuing to meet the compliance requirements.
- The fee will never take an account below zero (US $0.00), nor will it ever incur any credit card or other charges for the user.
- The fee will vary (in part due to state regulations), but will be never be more than US $3.00 per month.
- This is not a new credit processing fee. It is purely related to affected accounts with USD balances that have not been logged-into for more than 12 months. The credit processing fee remains unchanged from its June 24th, 2019 update.
Will Premium users using their USD balances to pay their subscriptions be subject to the inactivity fee?
- As long as they remain Premium members, no.
- All Premium accounts are automatically considered active accounts.
US Dollar Wallet Questions
Does Tilia support a company entity as the owner of a USD wallet, or can a USD wallet only be held any an individual? – As this question might vary depending on circumstance (is the business entity solely owned, is it a registered non-profit, etc), this type of question should be put to support. [Video: 53:00-53:45]
Linden Dollar / Direct Payment Questions
I buy Linden Dollars and use a debit card to pay tier. I never transfer L$ to USD. Am I affected by Tilia? – No. If you’re only ever dealing with Linden Dollars / making a direct payment to Linden Lab, and not exchanging L$ for USD nothing changes for you. [Video 22:37-23:00].
I use a credit card to buy L$ and this currently goes via my USD balance. Will I have to agree to the Tilia Terms of Service? – No. [Video: 23:41-24:20]
Beginning on August 1st your US dollars will not pass through the your US dollar wallet when purchasing Linden Dollars with a credit card PayPal or Skrill. You will not need to accept the Tilia Terms of Service if you do not otherwise have a US dollar credit.
– Patch Linden [video: 24:04]
If I only buy L$ to pay my rent, do I have to use Tilia? – No. Tilia only affects users with a US dollar balance associated with their Second Life account. [Video: 24:30-25:15]
Do I have to given personal information to use the LindeX? – No. Linden Lab doesn’t require personal information for L$ purchases. [Video: 26:45-27:52]
General Payment Methods Questions
Will we ever be able to pay land tier, membership, etc, using L$ without having to convert them to USD? – Possibly in the future [Video: 39:05-39:47]
It’s certainly something that we’ve thought of and we’ve been considering you know I can’t promise today that it’s something we would be able to do but it is something we’re thinking about you know and if something were to change there of course we would you know let everybody know with plenty of plenty of notice.
– Patch Linden [video: 39:26]
Are there plans for new payment methods for those who can’t use PayPal / Skrill? – Not at this time. However, for those who can use it, the Lab is looking to add Automated Clearing House (ACH) to enable direct payment to bank accounts, although this is a long-term strategy and there is currently no time frame for when it might be implemented. [Video: 40:33-41:22 and 44:24-45:09]
Is the Linden Dollar being turned into an e-coin? – No, not currently. [Video 23:15-23:31]
Why are you only doing this now, when the Tilia logo has been on some SL web pages for a while? – Because Tilia officially start operating as a business entity as from August 1st, 2019, but as part of the preparation, LL has been updating various websites. [Video: 25:25-26:33]
Will we be able to buy / sell Linden Dollars using crypto-currencies in the future? – No plans for this at present. [Video: 35:29-35:48]
Is this change related to the recent fee increases? – No. [Video: 36:18-33:27]
They’re [the pricing changes] connected to the overall business decisions. We’re not, so to speak, raising Premium prices in order to pay for Tilia. You know in general Second Life is a big and really complex beast, so we make pricing decisions very carefully, and we try to tread cautiously. Sometimes we make mistakes and we do our best to own those.
But the answer is no, that’s not why the Premium pricing went up. Partially, the Premium pricing went up because it was the logical place where pricing could go up; we hadn’t increased Premium pricing in the entire duration of the existence of Premium.
– Grumpity Linden [video: 36:29]
Will the economic levels on accounts remain the same for those wishing to credit process after August 1st? – This should not generate any changes in terms of tier levels, etc. Those who require a tier change for credit processing USD amounts can continue to request it through the normal channels [Video: 37:34-38:00]
Via Linden Lab
- Information About Privacy and Security in Tilia – July 17th, 2019
- Important Changes to your Second Life Account – Introducing Tilia – July 1st, 2019
- Tilia FAQ
- Tilia Terms of Service – effective from August 1st, 2019
- Official Tilia Q&A Forum Thread
- General Tilia / Second Life forum discussion thread
- Tilia Inc. website
Tilia Related Articles, This Blog
- Tilia Inc., and forthcoming Second Life account changes – July 1st, 2019
- Tilia – a further look and a little more speculation – July 2nd, 2019
- Linden Lab and Tilia Inc. – speculations on the Lab’s new subsidiary – November 4th, 2015