March 19, 2009

Online Game Receives Bank Permit

In the current economy, moving your money to a different bank may seem like a stellar idea. Since many banks on Earth are floundering, why not transfer to an alien bank?

Obviously, that option does not exist, but you can pretend. The publisher of "Entropia Universe," a science-fiction game online located on Calypso, an imaginary planet, has been given a real banking license from the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority.

The publishers plan to start an authentic bank in one year, even though customers will not be able to walk into a branch of the alien bank.

Participants of the "Entropia" game currently pay money for virtual currency that pays for their costs on Calypso. All the virtual funds that they generate through hunting, mining, and trading can be exchanged into real money. The alien tender, or Project Entropia Dollars, has a 10-to-1 exchange rate.

By creating an actual bank, Sweden-based publisher MindArk PE AB obtains the fortification of the Swedish government's deposit insurance, which can include up to about $60,000 per each customer.

MindArk will also allow normal bank services such as interest-bearing accounts, direct deposit, and online bill paying and lending, stated David Simmonds, the Swedish company's business director.

The company was vague on the kinds of lending it will employ, but Simmonds said the company was not engaging in precarious investments that prove to be the downfall of other banks.

The economic action in "Entropia Universe" totaled $420 million in 2008. The game has about 850,000 players.


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