Digital Currency Could Be Widely Used In VR

What is a virtual world?

Virtual worlds are things like Second Life. Or if you’ve read books like Ready Player One or Cryptonomicon, they describe a metaverse where people spend a great deal of their time in the future.

What are the pros and cons of using a decentralized digital currency in a virtual world?

Developers of these virtual worlds have a few options.

  1. They could create a centralized digital currency (like Second Life did with the Linden Dollar, which was pre-bitcoin)
  2. They could use an existing decentralized digital currency like Bitcoin or Ethereum
  3. They could issue their own token (on Ethereum, for instance)
  • It allows participants in these worlds (especially content creators) to earn “real money”
  • This means more people will spend time in the game. Perhaps they will even earn a living in the virtual world that pays their rent in the real world. If this happens, you could see people spend 8 to 12 hours per day

What will people buy?

In virtual worlds people will buy all sorts of things

  • real estate and houses
  • vehicles like cars, spaceships, etc
  • clothes and shoes for their avatars
  • special abilities such as teleportation (instant travel)
  • access or tickets to events
  • new episodes, levels, songs, experiences (entertainment)

What will currency (and banks) look like in VR?

We might see skeuomorphism in virtual worlds that reminds us of the traditional financial world. Perhaps we’ll see virtual bank buildings with pillars, virtual bank vaults that spin when you open them, and virtual tellers with glasses.


Virtual reality and cryptocurrency seem like a match made in heaven; it’s a purely digital version of money for a purely digital world.



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Brian Armstrong

Brian Armstrong


Co-Founder and CEO at @Coinbase. Increasing economic freedom in the world. Join us: