Virtual Currencies and The Meshverse

Citing a study that places a $588B pricetag on productivity problems caused by e-mail, this CNET article talks about

a Palo Alto, Calif.-based start-up called Seriosity has come up with an e-mail management system that borrows heavily from the virtual economies and currencies found in WoW and other large-scale online games.

… Known as Attent, Seriosity’s system is essentially a new currency–called the Serio–that corporate e-mail users spend to indicate a message’s importance: the more important they believe the message is, the more Serios they spend on it. Recipients keep the Serios in the messages they get.

… But Serios is a currency, and therefore a scarce resource, so people get a limited amount. The idea is that they have to spend the currency wisely, always making sure they have enough to send more with future messages.

There’s no way to tell just how effective this can be in isolation but it’s almost inevitable that it will find uses in the broader exchange of virtual currencies that are starting to flow through the meshverse. As devices and services become deeply interoperable and the number of things connected to the meshvers explodes, we’ll find that

In the 24/7, agent-driven marketplace of The Meshverse, service providers may deal with multiple hardware providers whose interoperable equipment is used in product placements and partially compensated for by some virtual currency such as Linden Dollars.

Rhythmeering: Location, Location, Location

The CNET article goes on to say:

… “The real value of the 21st century organization is in its people, and the organization only does what the people put their attention on,” said Edward Castronova, a leading expert on virtual economies who is consulting for Seriosity. “Yet in the age of e-mail, pagers, IMs and cell phones, our attention is like roadkill. My argument was that if a synthetic currency gets people to trade gold pieces for (virtual items), it could get them to trade Serios for attention. When you pay for a (virtual item), you’re just asking for attention: ‘Cast this spell on me’ is the same thing as ‘Read my e-mail.'”


… This means that a so-called secondary market for Serios–perhaps on eBay or other venues–is almost certain to develop as the real value for the currency evolves. That’s because some people would be sure to accumulate more than they can use, while others would want more than they have.

That’s particularly true, Ross suggested, because while Attent is currently Seriosity’s only product, the company sees other future uses for Serios such as auctions of desirable parking spaces, allocation of equipment or prioritization of IT resources.


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