Tilia LLC, founded by Linden Research Inc., as a wholly-owned subsidiary specialising in virtual currencies and providing money services business solution to virtual platforms, has announced it has gained strategic investment from J.P. Morgan Payments, a part of the world’s largest bank (by market capitalisation), JPMorgan Chase.
Tilia has been running Second Life’s US $650 million dollar economy for the past seven years, handling over US $86 million is payments to users in the last 12 months alone. Tilia’s services have also been used by the likes of Sansar, Upland and Avatus, and leverages in partnerships with Unity (allowing Tilia’s API and services to be made available to Unity developers as an integrated end-to-end payment solution) and Applovin.
While an (unspecified in dollar terms) minority investment, J.P. Morgan Payment’s involvement is liable to allow Tilia to increase pay-out methods and the number of currencies it can support, thus allowing it to provide a pay-out in local fiat currency for creators to pretty much anywhere credit cards work.
The deal has been in motion for almost a year, with effort being put into ensuring Tilia’s services are interoperable with those of J.P. Morgan Payments as well as structuring the overall financial elements of the deal. With its completion, E. Drew Soinski, Senior Payments Executive, Managing Director at J.P. Morgan Payments, has joined Tilia’s board of directors, serving alongside Brad Oberwager, Raj Date and Aston Waldman, who is also the company’s CEO.
From Tilia’s perspective, the partnership means the company will be even better placed to serve the emerging stream of “metaverse”-related companies, providing a wide range of currency services.
Tilia is money into the metaverse. It’s money moved into the metaverse and money moved out of the metaverse. And why this is so important is because you cannot have this concept of the metaverse without a social economy. It is both the social aspect and the financial aspect. Those two things must work in harmony. To do money, you need some virtual token to make money work. Money has to be rock solid. That is JP Morgan. That’s the partnership. What’s the value of Tilia? You can’t build a metaverse without user-generated content. You can’t build a metaverse without social interaction. You can’t build a metaverse without some sort of financial token that allows people to build a world.
– Tilia Director (and Linden Lab Executive Chairman) Brad Oberwager to Dean Takahashi in Gamesbeat
He further noted that in strengthening Tilia’s ability to provide these services to platforms, J.P. Morgan Payments are helping to both fuel new economies that directly benefit creators participating in them, allowing such economies to step away from the route of revenue generation through the invasive use of data farming and advertising.
“This is a good thing when creators can make money. There are people around the world who make their living by building things in Second Life … Here’s why I think it’s so important: these universes are social economies. If you don’t allow people to make money, if you don’t allow this economy to happen, if you don’t support creators, you’re going to have to rely on an advertising model to make your world work. That is a disaster. That would be the worst thing that could hit our society — an advertising-based metaverse.
– Tilia Director Brad Oberwager to Dean Takahashi in Gamesbeat
A great strength with Tilia is that it utilises virtual tokens rather than blockchain-powered crypto-currencies. This means that it is better placed to offer day-to-day virtual currency stability. Crypto-currencies are all too often treated as a speculative securities; they are therefore vulnerable to market volatility, going up and down in value by the day. Such volatility can potentially damage the foundations of any social economy using them.
Add to this Tilia now having such a well-regarded name within the financial markets / payments environment as a strategic partner further enhances Tilia’s standing and reputation – with Oberwager noting that new clients are already “lining up”. At the the same time, the partnership provides J.P. Morgan Payments with access to a market sector that might otherwise prove difficult to access.
More on the partnership can be found in the links below:
- Tilia Secures Strategic Investment from J.P. Morgan – Tillia LLC
- Tilia spins out, gets minority investment from J.P. Morgan to do metaverse payments – Dean Takahashi, GamesBeat
- JPMorgan Backs Tilia to Advance Payments for Virtual Economies – PYMNTS