Posted July 22, 2013 by John Baintree in News

Virtual and Digital Currency in Online Gaming

virtual cash
virtual cash

The way in which we operate and manage currency is in a constant state of evolution. Social signifiers of wealth have undergone transformation through out the ages, with access to commodities and livestock being the tried and tested measure of someone’s wealth for a long time. These commodities could then be exchanged for others, or alternatively, exchanged for coins. These coins were valuable as they contained precious metals – gold, silver, bronze etc. However, within the Renaissance period, it is said there was a cognitive shift in the attitude people deployed in relation to currency – coins were no longer valuable because they were made of precious

materials, with the shifting emphasis being placed upon the material itself. Essentially, what this means, is pre-Renaissance coined currencies were seen as valuable because they contained rare, precious metals; post-Renaissance coined currencies worked in the opposite way, precious metals were valuable because because of their potential to be exchanged for currency. The items in which society associates with wealth had changed, bringing with it a new modus operandi for currency.

So why is all this relevant to virtual and digital currencies and online gaming? It is relevant due to the nature in which society determines wealth. We have transitioned from currencies reliant on coins, to paper, to plastic and electricity. The modern day incarnation of currency is largely faceless, meaning spenders do not physically see their money except for on a screen or receipt. Spurred on by the availability of bank loans and credit within the 20th Century, it is no longer necessary for us to physically see or handle our money or assets. Whatever the banks say we have in an account, is what is there. The numbers are crunched else where. This then has an interesting relationship with the entertainment industry, as more and more games developers include ‘virtual currencies’ within their games. These games replace real currency for an in game equivalent, meaning players can be ‘wealthy’ within the game, with the game being an alternative, online society to the brick and mortar one in which we inhabit. In addition to this, there has recently been a rise in the prominence of ‘digital currencies’, real life currencies which exist online and that are not affiliated to or regulated by any state.

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