Is Project Entropia a Scam?
By Brian Carnell
Friday, September 8, 2000
Project Entropia is billed as an on-line persistent 3D game, but this excerpt from a recent press release really makes me skeptical:
MindArk said the second universe, Project Entropia, will be governed by an extensive set of rules familiar to on-line gamers and role game players which will govern actions and possibilities. The economy system of Project Entropia is unique and subject to patent application. The cash to be handled in Project Entropia is real and convertible to any major currency of the real world. As MindArk has solved the issue of handling money in the virtual world and to transfer money from the virtual to the real world, they are able to offer access to the new universe at no cost.
I am not saying it is a scam, but the above paragraph makes no sense. If they are really going online with a system that makes it trivial to transfer money from the virtual world to the real world, and they are going to launch worldwide as they have been promising, then they are going to get shut down almost immediately by laws designed to prevent money laundering.
Plus, leaving aside the money laundering issue for a second, even using computers to handle the detailed work, there are still real costs associated with processing and keeping track of monetary transfers, especially when you start getting into fluctuating currencies. How this adds up to making the service free makes no sense.
On the other hand, if they have really found a way to make it impossible for governments to enforce laws against money laundering, more power to them
-- just tell me where to sign up. Somehow, though, I would bet they are either vastly overselling the capabilities of the system or the amount of money that can be transferred in and out of the virtual world is very limited or it is a scam of some sort.
Until they prove their system is superior, E-Bay and other online auction facilities are still the only way to go for all your money laundering needs (disclaimer: I do not make enough money to bother laundering it, but the Internet already makes money laundering far easier than it ever has been).
Taking its moniker seriously, I suspect the energy behind Project Entropia will quickly degrade and the ability of the game or virtual world to accomplish meaningful work will quickly disappear.