Yep, Second Life’s version of Amsterdam has been sold for $50,000 on eBay. There are a lot of people surprised by this. Conventional wisdom begs the question, “Why would someone spend real money for an abstraction?” I answer the question with “Why not?” What is real money? Is it tangible? Sure, you can hold a dollar bill, but isn’t paper money just a symbol of gold used in the not too distant past (relatively speaking)? Actually, I can’t remember the last time I used paper money. I now shop almost exclusively with a credit/check card (which represents a check, which represents paper money, which represents gold …uh, I’m dizzy.
The concept of a dollar bill is based on the promise that the value printed on a piece of paper is worth what it says it is. In Second Life’s version of Amsterdam you can interact with people, and experience someone’s artistic creation. Which concept is more abstract?