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Author Topic: Using Bitcoins as currency in a virtual world.  (Read 748 times)
DiThi
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October 24, 2011, 12:22:45 AM
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Hi!

As I said in my first post: (C&P) we're doing a virtual world oriented to cooperative game development (think of second life but much better done, and more in a P2P fashion). I've been planning this project for years, did a lot of tests but didn't start "for real" until very recently. So far the engine is working on win32, linux 32/64, osx, android (on devices with OpenGL ES 2.0) and I'm working right now on networked Python scripting.

Some days ago I found about bitcoins and got very excited for 2 reasons: I want my platform to be as distributed and inherently secure as possible and bitcoin implements some ideas I've already thought of time ago; and I want bitcoin to be the official currency of the virtual world, as I won't have to worry about setting up a payment platform. After learning intensely about bitcoin for the past days, I have some questions.

Well, my questions are related to implementing the currency in the world. I've thought of several alternatives, each with potential problems:

- Implementing a thin bitcoin client with the virtual world client. Pros: I don't have to worry about managing virtual currency at all. Cons: insecure for non tech-aware users, extremely long bootstrap proccess, may saturate the network with many small transactions?.

- Implementing built-in eWallets. Pros: instant transactions, while the actual transactions are processed in blocks of 10-60 minutes and it's easier for the network; security for the end user. I can set a daily cap to avoid problems (returning automatically any money above the cap, with a fee). Cons: the security is in my end, so I need to implement it and I'm responsable for it; also it somewhat defeats the long-term purpose of having a P2P virtual world.

- Hybrid approaches: having some users with real wallets, others with eWallets, etc.

The currency would actually be a submultiple of the bitcoin (such as mBTC) but with a cooler name.

Please comment any thoughts about having a micro economy of very small quantities.

Also, I've thought of implementing alternative crypto-currencies (litecoin) with builtin (but optional) CPU mining. What do you think?

1DiThiTXZpNmmoGF2dTfSku3EWGsWHCjwt
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Ashkelon
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October 24, 2011, 12:34:39 AM
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Yes, please do.

Don't worry about small transaction saturating the network, unless you're planning on a billion mBTC transactions/minute I think the network will be fine.

Anyone with more technical experience care to weigh in?

dominus mysteria
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October 24, 2011, 12:36:36 AM
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- Implementing a thin bitcoin client with the virtual world client. Pros: I don't have to worry about managing virtual currency at all. Cons: insecure for non tech-aware users, extremely long bootstrap proccess, may saturate the network with many small transactions?.

- Implementing built-in eWallets. Pros: instant transactions, while the actual transactions are processed in blocks of 10-60 minutes and it's easier for the network; security for the end user. I can set a daily cap to avoid problems (returning automatically any money above the cap, with a fee). Cons: the security is in my end, so I need to implement it and I'm responsable for it; also it somewhat defeats the long-term purpose of having a P2P virtual world.

You might already know this, but with eWallets, you don't need to make an actual network transaction each time a user makes an in-game transfer. You can just give each user credit that they have with you, and that credit can be transferred. This would allow for instant transfers.

If the user wants to withdraw bitcoins out of the game, then they provide you with a bitcoin address that you send to, and you deduct the amount withdrawn from their credit, or likewise, if they want to deposit, you provide them with a dynamically generated address and add the amount deposited to their credit.

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Also, I've thought of implementing alternative crypto-currencies (litecoin)

Bitcoin is probably the best option as it has a much larger base of users and thus a greater potential of becoming widely accepted on the internet. It's also the most secure from a >51% attack.

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