Over time, many technologies pioneered or elaborated in games and virtual worlds have become core parts of the web. Reputation systems. User profiles that track achievements and cumulative past experience. Avatars themselves, now degraded in common parlance all the way down to profile pictures. And now the idea of virtual coins is hot again, after some failed attempts in the 90s boom to make virtual currenct standards for e-commerce. The Guardian has a nice article on it:
Startups such as Jambool and Spare Change have launched virtual currencies that are interoperable across a range of games, applications and social networks, but Twofish’s Rutherford believes only a company of Facebook’s size can deliver the “brand promise” that would give a universal currency widespread appeal. Hale thinks that eventually there will be “a few dominant virtual currencies that by dint of their size become exchange currencies, just as the US dollar is to the global economy today”.
Are we actually on track for something like this? Well, it’s not crazy. I think a bigger question is whether governments will allow or discourage it from happening — China already cracked down on QQ coins, as I recall.