Virtual currency leaps into the real world
There’s an emerging economy that’s growing fast right now. But it’s neither China nor India. In fact, it’s not even a real economy. It’s the virtual economy of the QQ coin. The QQ coin is virtual play money that was created by the Chinese Internet business Tencent Holdings. (QQ is the name of Tencent’s mascot, a ...
There's an emerging economy that's growing fast right now. But it's neither China nor India. In fact, it's not even a real economy. It's the virtual economy of the QQ coin.
There’s an emerging economy that’s growing fast right now. But it’s neither China nor India. In fact, it’s not even a real economy. It’s the virtual economy of the QQ coin.
The QQ coin is virtual play money that was created by the Chinese Internet business Tencent Holdings. (QQ is the name of Tencent’s mascot, a penguin.) Originally, the QQ coins—which cost one yuan each—were intended to be used to buy virtual products, such as magical swords for online games and virtual flowers for Internet pals. Skilled video-gamers could also win QQ coins for their top scores.
Now, though, websites are using QQ coins as payment for real-world items such as CDs and makeup. For the Chinese, it’s a practical way to make purchases since credit cards aren’t very common in China yet.
But as the QQ coin makes the leap into the real world, it’s creating all sorts of real-world concerns. Successful gamers can make real money by winning online assets and then selling them for cash to poorly performing gamers. (Imagine if top basketball teams could sell their winning points!) Additionally, traders can make real money off virtual currency speculation by selling QQ coins for cash at discount prices that vary based on supply and demand. Recently, one former Chinese executive got sent to prison for virtual embezzlement.
One bigger concern is that when virtual currency gets linked to real currency through an exchange rate, it could potentially cause a real-world monetary crisis. The Chinese government has tried placing capital controls on QQ coins, but that has just led to scarcity, driving up their real-world value by 70 percent in recent weeks.
All this makes me wonder, is it possible for a real-world poor person to become a virtual millionaire, or better yet, become a real-world millionaire by selling virtual money?
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