3rd Rock moves currency to Podex

Press release: 3rd Rock Grid to transition to Podex

3rd Rock Grid is going through a number of changes as part of a transition to a new ownership model.

One of the changes will be to transition away from directly managing their currency, the Geode, otherwise known as the GO$. At a date to be determined, 3RD Rock Grid will be switching to the Podex Exchange, which already supports a number of other grids, and provides the means of exchanging currency between those grids.

3rd Rock Grid is well known for its music scene. (Image courtesy RobStock Festival.)

3rd Rock Grid is well known for its music scene. (Image courtesy RobStock Festival.)

There are a number of reasons for this move, chief among them being legal changes being made in the US, Europe, and elsewhere that dramatically increase a grid’s liability, as well as the associated security, reporting, and administrative issues.

As a part of this transition, the management of 3rd Rock Grid will ensure that all of citizens’ account balances are converted in a way that is as orderly and convenient as possible. In preparation for this conversion, the grid will first deal with the balances remaining in stagnant accounts. For the purposes of this transition, that is any account that has not been logged into or otherwise used in anyway in the last 18 months.

Citizens who regularly log in, and have a GO$ balance, will continue to have that balance, which will be converted to the Podex. More information will be forthcoming as it becomes available.

Any 3RG citizen whose account is stagnant, and has a GO$ balance, will be given until the 31st of August, 2015 to either reactivate the account by logging in, or to request a cash-out of that balance. That balance will be transferred via PayPal.

Any citizens who have any questions may contact 3rd Rock Grid via the support page.

3rd Rock Grid is one of the oldest OpenSimulator grids, and has been a part of virtual reality since February 2008. Since that time, it has led the way in experimenting with the social aspects of the three dimensional Internet, focussing on education, culture, arts, entertainment, and charity.

 

Press Release

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  • > chief among them being legal changes being made in the US, Europe

    It would be interesting to get any details on what legal changes are being made in Europe, because as a European I am not aware of any?

  • Alex Ferraris

    This my two cents.
    When a grid gives up its currency to another company; it loses alot of money and part of its identity.
    These grids are doing this because they think that it would cost too much to legalize their currency.
    Now Podex will be making money off their transactions.
    The grids dont realize that the money they will be loosing in the long way could be set appart for their currency legalization.
    I say dont use Podex. Sell your currency which really it is not. It is Tokens.
    Do not offer exchange for it until you can legalise it or simply offer A REFUND as a property.
    Trust me I had laywers look this over.
    And lets be real here…no one will come after you unless you are conducting thousands of dollars per year and not filling.
    All this has been made into a big gorilla in the room!

  • Han Held

    Obviously I disagree with Alex, or rather I don’t think you can ask a Brazilian lawyer to interpret US or European law, nor do I think it’s likely that they have experience working with the current changes occuring in the US (I can’t speak to EU).

    That’s not why I’m here tho. It would see to me that this change would affect the way that regions are ordered and purchased in 3RG, but the press release doesn’t go into any detail. Hopefully someone from 3RG can swing by and fill us in on what changes to region ordering are gonna take place.

    • Alex Ferraris

      First of all AviWorlds is not Brazilian. It just happens that our largest community in AVIWORLDS is brazilian.
      Im in the USA.
      Im not going to give control of my grids TOKENS to Podex or any other currency managing company.
      As I said before when amount of money generated by Aviworlds token sales becomes large enough we will get all licenses. Right now it is not at that tipping point enough to make any laws applicable.
      I think that these other grids are making a mistake and being premature by allowing another company take control of the small amounts that they may generate in token sales.
      Most of the cutrent laws are there for Bidcoin which is largely used around the world.
      I say this. Podex is welcome in AviWorlds but as a currency exchange not as my token manager.
      They can come in and purchase 1000000 AV$ and then do their busness.

  • Maria.. correction needed… 3rd Rock Grid has been online and part of the OpenSim community since February of 2008 That’s when I first put it online.

  • As a grid owner in the USA, I can say that I have investigated setting up our own currency and to be completely legal requires registering with the Federal government as a money transmitter and it also requires registering with the state of Ohio. Both of these registrations require large amounts of money ($5k for federal “AND” $5k for State) and it simply does not make good financial sense with the small number of transactions for cashouts a grid would typically receive.
    Even if a grid could make $200 profit per month which is an awful lot of cashouts, it would take 50 months of these profits just to break even on the registrations and that would not touch the added cost you would have during those 50 months for reporting and book keeping.

    To anyone else considering doing their own currency I would say that if you are in the USA, do your homework, make some calculations and do what is best for you, but do not ever try to run your own currency exchange services without being completely legal about it as the government could swoop in, shut you down, freeze all of your accounts, imprison you, and slap you with $5k per day fines for each “Cashout” you did without being legal.
    The penalties are stiff.. up to 5 years in prison and $5k dollar fine for each infraction (cashout).
    I’m not a betting man, and there is no way I would ever risk all of that for a few dollars worth of profit each month. I owe it to my users and supporters to make good decisions, they are counting on us as grid owners to protect their investments in our grids and I really do not want to test how serious the government would be on these issues… I’d rather play it safe and do the right thing… always!

    • Alex Ferraris

      You may be playing prematurely safe thats my opinion.
      When the money becomrs serious and large enough than you act.

      • So so I’m clear of what you’re saying…
        You “Think” it is fine to operate your grid illegally and you’re recommending others to do the same because you feel the small amounts of money you’re dealing with is “Small Potatoes” and the government won’t mind? You think they’ll look the other way?
        As a side note, nowhere in my comments did I mention how much profit my grid is making each month, nor did I imply any amount of profit my grid might be generating.

        • Alex Ferraris

          First of all. Im not operating my grid illegally.
          My grid is registered as a legal company in the US. I also file taxes on it.
          What Im saying is that it is premature to get all kinds of licenses when the grid is not making any money. This way of thinking will stop many grids from starting up because people like you are creating fear regarding this subject witbout cause.
          I dont know how much money your little grid makes and im not interested.
          I much prefer to have control of my own tokens than give full control of it to a third party company. And yes. Keep a good book keeping practice. This way when its time you are set to go.

          • You see, that’s the great thing about everyone having a right to their own opinions, I completely disagree with you on this issue as I believe when you invest all the time it takes to setup and run a grid and you pull users into your grid to help support your operations financially, these users expect and assume that you are a legitimate business which is doing what they should be doing to remain legal.
            As a user, I would never want to invest my time and money in a grid if I thought they weren’t operating within the laws of their area. As a user I would wonder where else they might be cutting corners – Backups? Support? Server Equipment? Network Providers? Taxes? etc, etc..

            I’m not implying that you are doing anything wrong at all, but I am saying that for any grid to ignore the legal requirements is just simply wrong and if they choose to do so, it’s on them.

            I’ll continue to operate my “little” grid DigiWorldz legally, make good decisions, and play it safe where it’s needed as I owe it to our users to remain online for the long term.

            As a member of the OpenSim community since 2007, I would never indicate to any other person in the world that it is ok to operate illegally as long as they aren’t making much money, that’s just nonsense in my opinion.

          • Alex Ferraris

            Yes Im also operating AviWorlds legally sir.
            Yes attention all grid owners . 600 grids more or less.
            Now you all have to pay 5000 dollars plus in order to have tokens in your grid. Even of you dont offer exchange for real money.
            I rest my case.

          • lol.. Alex.. I did not say that and I’m sorry if you read it that way. The truth of the matter is that if a grid does not allow their in world currency to be cashed out then there is no issue. A grid can legally sell “Tokens” or other types of in world money as long as that money is never allowed to be turned back in.. or traded for real world cash.

          • Alex Ferraris

            True.

      • did somebody say “premature”???????

  • I looked into this issue thoroughly when I was researching currency options for a client’s grid. As Alex points out, it largely depends on whether your grid currency will be convertible to legal currency. If it’s not convertible, then you *probably* don’t need to be concerned about the issues that Butch is talking about, although you still need to maintain a valid audit trail in case of disputes.

    However if you want merchants and businesses to make money in your grid, then your currency needs to be convertible to legal currency. The only definite safe way I know of to use Paypal. A currency exchange such as Virwox or Podex is probably safe, and in fact I plan to use one of them in my personal grid. However in the worst case, they aren’t necessarily safe if regulatory and law enforcement agencies such as the US Treasury Dept’s FinCEN don’t recognize them as legitimate. This is an untested legal area.

    • Grid owners must do their own research as it is impossible to make general recommendations, unless perhaps on a per country basis.

      As VirWOX and Podex is operating out of Austria and Poland respectively (although Podex operates with a UK address, but Polish bank) they are a) not recognized by the US FinCEN system, and b) they operate in a totally unregulated European legislative landscape when it comes to virtual currencies.

      Podex is most likely organized with an European organization form that often is set up as a mailbox mother company in a location that is tax favorable (such as Malta), but the real company is a subsidiary operating in another country.

      • You raise a very important point. One of the reasons that currency is such a treacherous area is that it’s subject to a myriad of national, regional, and local regulations, not only for the grid owner’s location, but potentially for locations of grid members. There is no single correct answer about virtual world currency other than grid owners being extremely diligent and only taking on as much risk as we’re willing to shoulder potential consequences.