Ginko Financial, an unregulated investment bank that promised returns of up to 60%, collapsed recently, costing its customers 200 million Lindens—the currency of online virtual universe Second Life, where the bank existed. While the bank, managed by a mysterious, anonymous owner, catered only to computer-generated avatars in its 3 1/2 years existence, the money it lost—about $750,000—was very real.
Second Life currently has 20 to 30 banks that offer the same whopping returns and use the same strategy that Ginko did, reports Wired, spurring calls for federal regulation over the cyber community. Linden Lab, the company that runs Second Life, recently asked the FBI to investigate casino activity in the metaverse, which led to a ban on all gambling. (Read more Second Life stories.)