The calendar displays week after week of blank dates on Manitou Tourism's website. The donation boards in several locations throughout Manitou have been unceremoniously removed. It has been that way since May 2016 when the CEO of Silversmith Estates Winter Silversmith declared that his company was boycotting Podex, LLC, the Great Canadian Grid's monetary system.
The announcement came following an article published by Winter, in the Corran Journal, on May 2, 2016. The story "Biting from the wallet up" which explained to readers the recent decline in exchange for Canadian Real Life dollars to Maple dollars paid by Podex, LLC to Canadian members of GCG. At the same time Podex changed the affiliation fees awarded to ATM hosts and basically eliminated the need for ATMs with the introduction of the Podex HUD.
Mr. Silversmith has been a significant supporter of the GCG and community with assets and contributions totalling over MC$ 125,000 in two years (that's about $650 CDN at the old rate). Winter has purchased and paid out inworld much through donations to events such as the Christmas Spectacular, over MC$ 65,000 in 2015, and over MC$ 45,000 so far in 2016. "The Christmas Spectacular was a great opportunity for us to give back to the community" said Winter regarding the MC$ 7,500 donation to the event which highlighted the talents of over two dozen performers in just two days. "Every Maple I buy stays in the GCG, I never cash out for Real Life currency - ever."
"The reason for the boycott is simple" Mr. Silversmith told the Corran Journal this evening. "I purchase Canadian Maples with my Canadian Paypal using Canadian money and for that Podex claims that I must pay a 20% US exchange rate. Yes, I said 'US' as in United States. I know you are wondering what the US has to do with Canada, well, that's a very good question and one that Podex failed to answer to my satisfaction."
It has recently been discussed how Podex charges a fee every time you cash out Maples into Real Life currency, it would appear they charge you a fee you when you buy it as well, resulting in a double fee or 'double tax'. "It would appear that Podex can make around twenty to forty percent in fees from you just for buying and selling your Canadian Maples regardless of where you live", Winter pointed out with a sour look on his face. "Yes, I have spoken to Roddie (Macchi, Owner of GCG) about it, there's not much he can do right now because members voted in using Podex and everyone is subject to their terms and conditions. How much is forty percent you ask, well, it's about MC$ 70 out of every MC$ 173 at today's rate."
The end result, Manitou Tourism and Silversmith Estates have cancelled all events and fundraisers for the remainder of 2016 or until Podex, LLC returns the Canadian Dollar to Canadian Maples rate back to $1 equals MC$193 as it was introduced at in 2015. "The US dollar should not be a standard for this or any currency for that matter except those in the US" said Winter "especially when my purchase has nothing to do with the US".
Currently there are a limited number of monetary systems available for OpenSim virtual grids. A grid can create its' own internal currency (an example would be the very successful Kitely Credits offered by Kitely, subject to laws and regulations of the country it belongs to, or it can sign up with one of the better known OpenSim / Hypergrid compatible companies.
The first, Austrian based Virwox offers Open Metaverse Currency (OMC) currently serves about "241 regions" according to its website but we found that many of the ones listed, including the Great Canadian Grid, are not members of the OMC network.
The second, Podex LLC, a UK based company owned by the parent Aexea located in Poland. Podex's website claims "we manage the economies of several dozen virtual worlds inhabited by hundreds of thousands users creating virtual content and exchanging items and services between grids." Their website includes the logos of twenty-seven OpenSim grids included several listed on the Virwox website.
Gloebits, a company and currency was created by former members of Linden Labs (SecondLife). It has not been heard from much this year. They introduced Gloebits to the metaverse in February 2016 by offering the new currency to members of the Dreamland Metaverse. The Dreamland Metaverse website, however, does not have any references or search articles found concerning Gloebits and instead talks about Virwox and Paypal as possible currency choices.
Lastly, Game Tokens, created by Frank Corsi of 3D Virtual Web, Inc. appears to be limited to those grids owned or hosted by the company and has not expanded beyond their borders in the last year.
When asked what Winter hopes to achieve by the boycott he had this comment to our readers "I hope that the news of my boycott will prompt discussion of Podex's rates and lack of customer service to GCG members. We voted in Podex as our currency over a year ago and I would like members to re-examine our options and consider expanding into a second currency such as Paypal or our own GCG money. Perhaps we can create a hybrid system between Podex and GCG's own money? I don't know, I just want it to be a topic 'back on the table' so to speak."
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We are a roleplay publication featuring activities in the Manitou, GCG regions and beyond.
Kevin M. Klerks, Editor
(aka Winter Silversmith)