virtual

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Bitcoin is not just a state-less currency, it’s also a reality-less currency.

One of Bitcoin’s unique features is that value can be moved around in a much more liquid fashion than any previous forms of money. Anything that can be touched digitally can touch upon Bitcoin.

Bitcoin is the first truly decentralized form of money. No one controls it. This possibility is exciting. It’s a state-less currency. We are seeing the ramifications of this already (people being paid with Bitcoin in jobs where what you create is not bound to the idea of a state: such as digital freelance work). The idea of a state-less currency means any nation’s currency will contend with Bitcoin. There will be countless ins and outs into the currency. I’m not sure yet whether it will happen, but it seems possible that Bitcoin will become the reserve currency of the world, rather than another nation’s currency (such is the case now with the USD). The problem with having another nation’s currency as the reserve currency is the political implications (and trust).

An example of this is the BRICS recent decision to increase trade in their own currencies rather than rely on the USD. Even if a country despises the US, the USD is still regarded as the ‘reserve currency’ and other countries reluctantly have to deal with it, because that’s where trust and value lies. But, if there is a neutral currency, then trust will gravitate towards it over time as distrust breaks down relationships between nation-type currencies.

Now, what I actually want to say. If you look at Bitcoin simply as an equivalent to a real world currency, the in and outs into it will be nation’s currencies. However, as I mentioned, Bitcoin is digital. Anything that is digital will and can affect it’s value.

This means Bitcoin is also reality-less (for lack of a better term) currency. And easily so. Virtual economies have always been valuable, but its always been restrictive in terms of money flowing into and out of it. You have your traditional MMOs where ‘black market’ trading of Gold and items exist (such as in WoW), and then you have your more open MMOs like Second Life and Entropia Universe where trading money into the world is accepted. 

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Famously, a $635,000 island was sold in Entropia.

However, as I stated, liquidity is hampered like any current traditional exchange. With Bitcoin, there’s no reason why any virtual items and goods can sold in the game for Bitcoin and use the Bitcoin protocol immediately. So, now you can see that not only will nation-currencies contend with Bitcoin, but virtual currencies as well. And it can more easily exist without having to even need a separate currency (such as is the case with current MMOs).

So, just imagine. You walk into your local pub and pay with Bitcoin. Have a few drinks with your buddies. You get back home and play an MMO and with that same Bitcoin, you buy virtual items. All the transactions go through the Bitcoin protocol (you don’t have to use the protocol. You can keep it off-chain). The items sold in the game are immediately deposited into your wallet. It’s seamless like you’ve never seen it before.

There are examples surfacing of this:

Dragon’s Roulette. MMO casino powered with Bitcoin.

Bitstrat (in early beta). Wager on skill-based games.

(I recall seeing another one where the in world game uses Bitcoin as currency, but can’t find it now. If you know, link it please).

I do want to see a fully fledged game that focuses on Bitcoin as currency and uses it’s strengths in such a game.

So yeah. It’s not farfetched to imagine virtual worlds also contending along with nation-currencies with Bitcoin. It’s exciting!

The Bar (of the future).

I look down. I’ve got my favourite shirt on. There are more people than usual tonight. The sip of beer tastes refreshing and slightly bitter. Just the way I like it: South African style.

The room next door fills with the usual playlist. Old-school tunes! My brother is already here, sitting at at a table. Schweet. He is sipping a guinness. It’s been ages! I should get one after this.

He says ‘hi’, and I greet with the usual ‘how’s it hanging?!’. We talk. The usual. What’s new, how’s life, what’s the plans? what music are you listening to? what’s up with Bitcoin? etc.

It’s a great night. People around us move in and out of periphery, faces I haven’t seen before. At the end I instinctively reach out for a handshake, and we miss. Our hands pass through each other. I recall this happening. I should be used to this by now! Being a little drunk, you forget that we are a few thousand kilometres apart.

This reality isn’t far away. Using the Oculus Rift for visual immersion and using Kinects for creating 3D representations of your body, you can create environments where people can share realities in ways we haven’t thought of.

In our current shared time-space, the only thing that’s really indicative that we are physically close is that I can touch a person and get physical feedback. Until haptic interfaces get more advanced, this is it. A lot of the interactions you make with people doesn’t involve a lot of touch. If you are in a bar of club, you are ‘physically’ close, but they are simple a few meters away.

If we can make virtual realities and map our bodies (using technology like the Kinect), we can create shared virtual environments on unprecedented scales! I can sit, and get drunk with my brother who is literally a few thousand kilometeres away, but it won’t feel different than sitting across from him in a bar. It’s strange, and exciting!

The possibilities are endless. These virtual environments and meeting places won’t be limited to bars. We’ll have magnificent views. We’ll have DJ’s playing to crowds of thousands. We’ll have architecture that won’t be able to exist in current space and time.

Exciting!