Update: Linden Lab changes its mind and allows third-party exchanges with some conditions. Details here.
The online world SecondLife comes with its own currency, Linden Dollars. A number of virtual currency exchanges make a significant portion of their income buying and selling Linden Dollars. Third party exchanging of Linden Dollars has been happening for years and is an important service particularly to SecondLife players outside the States who otherwise do not have a means of purchasing Linden Dollars.
Last week Linden Lab, the SecondLife operator, changed their terms of service to prohibit third-party trading of Linden Dollars.
Via the SecondLife Website
“to better protect Second Life users against fraud, the updated Terms of Service make it clear that trading of Linden dollars (L$) on exchanges other than the LindeX, Second Life’s official L$ exchange, is not authorized or allowed. “
There is some reason to believe that Linden Lab’s change of policy is due to FinCEN’s guidance on virtual currencies. FinCEN made it clear that their guidance applied to “convertible” virtual currencies and the existence of Linden Dollar exchanges would seem qualify the virtual currency as “convertible”.
HypergridBusiness.com, a website dedicated to users of virtual worlds, is reporting that several exchange owners have received emails from Linden Lab requesting that they immediately cease facilitating Linden Dollar trades.