OMC currency use more than triples in 2013

The multi-grid, hypergrid-enabled OMC — Open Metaverse Currency — from Austrian currency exchange Virwox had its best year ever in 2013. The total value of transactions conducted in the virtual currency reached OMC 6.5 million in 2013, up three and a half times from OMC 1.8 million in 2012. That is equivalent to an increase from about US $7,385 to US $26,082 over the course of the year, based on an exchange rate of around OMC 250 to $1.

Total value of annual OMC transactions. (Virwox data.)

Total value of annual OMC transactions. (Virwox data.)

The increase in usage is particularly surprising given that Virwox has done very little to market its currency this past year. However, one factor in the increase could be the increased regulatory scrutiny that virtual currencies now face. Some experts have suggested that all virtual currency exchanges may need to register as financial institutions, a difficult and expensive process. Grids wishing to avoid this requirement can make their currencies fully fictional, which means that users will no longer be able to cash out their holdings, or outsource the entire currency system to a third-party provider such as Virwox.

Another possible explanation for the increase is that users and merchants are both becoming more comfortable with hypergrid commerce, where buyers can buy goods on one grid and take it to another grid to use.

The number of grids accepting the currency grew from 47 at the start of 2013, to 55 at the end of the year, another record high, according to Virwox statistics.

Total number of OpenSim grids that accept OMC. (Virwox data.)

Total number of OpenSim grids that accept OMC. (Virwox data.)

OMC transactions had a couple of particularly strong months in 2013. In May, there were about OMC 1.3 million (US $5,200) in transactions. December was another peak month, with about OMC 976,200 (US $3,900) in transactions during the month.

Total monthly transactions between OMC users. (Virwox data.)

Total monthly transactions between OMC users. (Virwox data.)

The total amount of OMC in circulation has risen steadily since its launch in March 2010, with a sharp upturn in growth in the second half of 2013.

At the start of 2013, there was OMC 853,324 in circulation, or about $3,400. By the end of the year, that had risen 47 percent to OMC 1.26 million, or more than US $5,000.

The previous year, 2012, saw 26 percent growth in total OMC in circulation.

Total value of OMC in circulation. (Virwox data.)

Total value of OMC in circulation. (Virwox data.)

The relatively low amount of OMC in circulation, compared to the value of the transactions in the currency, are a sign that users are actively trading the money, instead of holding large OMC reserves. Shoppers buy as much OMC as they need, when they need it, and merchants cash out quickly after they make their sales. This is a prudent approach with any virtual currency, especially a relatively new and untested one.

maria@hypergridbusiness.com'

Maria Korolov

Maria Korolov is editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business. She has been a journalist for more than twenty years and has worked for the Chicago Tribune, Reuters, and Computerworld and has reported from over a dozen countries, including Russia and China.

  • woohoo, grats to virwox. glad to see them still going strong despite the no third party exchange change in SL’s ToS happened in 2013 which was later then slightly changed. Hope to see them grow even more by this time next year 🙂

  • hack13

    Now only if their module wouldn’t take so much work to keep operating correctly on dev releases of opensim. Quite headache baring.

  • Nathan Adored

    Well, one thing I wish was that you didn’t have to have a distinctly separate Virwox account for every world you want to use OMC$ on, and a separate one for every alt. It would be nice if there was a way to have one Virwox account, and then link that to every one of those virtual world selves, but have each one be its own separate pool of money, appearing side by side, that you could then transfer money between, or out of.

    • i agree, should have multiple options for multiple grids and avatars. Also hate how you have to contact them to have a avatar removed from your account like i had to do today.

  • hack13

    Maria told me to go ahead and post my more in-depth review of this, showing that the growth is only because of two grids: http://grid-press.com/2014/01/indepth-omc-growth-review/