1993-10-11 - Re: Virtual City (tm) and Virtual Capitalism

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From: Jim McCoy <mccoy@ccwf.cc.utexas.edu>
To: arthurc@crl.com
Message Hash: ec67480623c7610c0499bb174bb8e5d1b2ea01a12b843078ccd197394cc9f995
Message ID: <199310110504.AA15258@tramp.cc.utexas.edu>
Reply To: <Pine.3.05.9310101713.A26661-b100000@crl.crl.com>
UTC Datetime: 1993-10-11 05:06:09 UTC
Raw Date: Sun, 10 Oct 93 22:06:09 PDT

Raw message

From: Jim McCoy <mccoy@ccwf.cc.utexas.edu>
Date: Sun, 10 Oct 93 22:06:09 PDT
To: arthurc@crl.com
Subject: Re: Virtual City (tm) and Virtual Capitalism
In-Reply-To: <Pine.3.05.9310101713.A26661-b100000@crl.crl.com>
Message-ID: <199310110504.AA15258@tramp.cc.utexas.edu>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text

Arthur Chandler <arthurc@crl.com> writes:
>   I'm still not clear as to exactly what MUD money would purchase. In a MOO,
> such as MediaMOO or BayMOO, I can't conceive of what anyone could "buy"
> with virtual money.

What would one buy with any digital cash?  Whatever anyone is willing to
sell them.  How about programs, stock quotes, orders for physical items,
newspapers and magazines, etc...

> [quotas as the scarese resource on MOOs...]
>   Any system of monetary exchange that would involve manipulating quotas,
> or translating them into a kind of tradeable commodity would, I think, be
> vigorously resisted by most MOO wizards.

Quota is simply a manifestation of the only real resources that limit the
size of a virtual world, storage space and computation time.  There is no
reason to think that any currency exchanges on such systems would need to
limit themselves to this (but it does give one ideas as I will mention

>   If we're talking about RPG money -- gold and jewels that have value
> within a MUD/RPG universe -- well, OK; but I think this would be a fairly
> trivial use of what I thought was supposed to be a sophisticated model for
> future monetary transactions on a global scale. And if, as part of your
> post suggests, RL money would be gratefully paid for increased power
> within a MUD -- shades of *Snow Crash*! And who would have guessed that
> it was cypherpunks in executive clothing that brought such a system into
> the MUD/MOO world.

Well, I do not know much about what the virtual city people are doing, but
I can tell you a little bit about what I know of another MOO that is
working on such a virtual marketplace, the metaverse MOO being run right
now by Steve Jackson Games (metaverse.io.com port 7777)  While people are
still working on setting things up (the system is fairly new) a lot of
ideas have been tossed around such as real online games done by
professionsal corperations (sjg, etc) or online orders for magazines such
as wired or mondo, or perhaps ordering equipment at computer sales outlet
on the MOO.  All one needs is currency and then the buyers and sellers can
determine what the market will be.

I find the MOO system interesting because it provides a structure of
objects (data) and interaction of people and the objects.  One of the
reasons I have been interested in dc nets, encrypted filesystems, and the
like is because I think it would be interesting to set up a completely
distributed and secure/private computing system.  I have figured out a lot
of the filesystem and communications (i/o) issues through dc nets and
various encrypted filesystem ideas.  The stumbling block I kept running
into was how to build a network CPU.  What about a MOO?  The MOO
programming language itself is rather primitive, but it only concerns
itself with negotiation of the objects within the system and simple
interactions with those connected to the system; if one were to hook a
perl, C, and tcl interpreter into such a system and add flags to objects to
signal that they should be run through a particular interpreter then one
would have the necessary CPU(s).  One could use MOO money to pay for the
data storage and CPU time (object quota and server ticks) and those
providing cycles or storage space for the MOO would be compensated and the
system could theoretically grow without bounds.

Just an idea or two and perhaps a hint of things to come...