[Dave Birch] I have from time to time expressed some concern that the cost of complying with money laundering laws, policies and regulations increases the net welfare because, as far as I can see, there is just as much money laundering going on in the world now as there was before. But I may be wrong because I don’t have access to any exact figures for how much money is being laundered. Except in the UK, where we know the precise amount:

In other words, we have over £82,000 of money laundering where notes were accidentally washed through washing machines;

[From The Financial Services Club’s Blog: Sorry sir, the dog ate my lunch money]

Yet another problem with notes and coins duly recorded.

However difficult the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) find it to track money laundering in the “real” economy, it’s just as difficult for the Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) fraud squad to track money laundering in the “virtual” economy. It turns out that people are laundering virtual gold through phoney auctions.

[If] someone is going to buy 1000 gold in a game, very rarely do they just buy and go get the gold. That’s something these companies know we can easily track. Instead of just sending or trading it, they’ll ask customers to go put a [some worthless item] up on the broker and make it sell for a thousand gold.

[From SOE hires crime fighting gnomes to fend off credit card worms – Massively]

That’s actually quite clever and shows that kids (well, not kids, the average age of the SOE sellers is early 20s) will always find a way to continue with economic activity whatever the rules are. I’m beginning to think that this might make a nice magazine article about financial regulation: try it out in Norrath first, then try it out in the UK once it’s working.

It illustrates yet another problem with, as I once heard Richard Bartle put it, people buying things that don’t exist from people who don’t own them with non-existent money. (And that’s different from the “real” economy because…).

These opinions are my own (I think) and presented solely in my capacity as an interested member of the general public [posted with ecto]

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