Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Tilia Needed For Second Life Accounts Starting August 1

While the Lindens gave some news of their upcoming plans during the "Meet the Lindens" events last week (many of which the Newser was hoping to describe in more detail in the next few days), there was one that wasn't mentioned: Tilia. On the Second Life blog yesterday, the Lab announced it would be part of "Important Changes to your Second Life Account."

Beginning on August 1, 2019, Tilia will take over certain aspects of the Second Life service. Tilia enables Linden Lab to continue the Second Life service in its current form through enhanced regulatory compliance protocols.  To achieve this, Tilia will assume responsibility for managing your USD denominated account, which will be referred to as your "Tilia Account."  After August 1, Tilia will handle process credit requests and payments made from your Tilia Account.

Effective August 1, in order to continue using Second Life you will have to agree to Tilia’s Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.  A Tilia Account associated with your Second Life Account will automatically be created for you and you will not need a separate username or password to access your Tilia Account.  

In order to stay in compliance with regulatory requirements, if you wish to process a credit, we will need certain personal information to verify your identity, including your name, address, date of birth, and social security number (or government-issued identification if you are not a U.S. Citizen).  You may be required to provide additional information to complete the transaction. Tilia will securely store this information so that you should only need to provide it once.

Additionally, please note that customers under 18 years of age will not be able to process credit after August 1, 2019 until they reach the age of 18. 

As always, Second Life remains free to access and enjoy!  However, if your Tilia Account is inactive for a period of 12 months we will charge your Tilia Account a fee to the extent permitted by applicable law.  If you have questions about the inactivity fee, please see Tilia’s Terms of Service.

What is Tilia? Linden Lab bought the company in late 2015. The name had been registered in 2002, but the business, whatever it's purpose, had shut down. When Inara Pey asked Linden Lab what it was for, the response by their Director of Global Communications was " a subsidiary of Linden Lab, focused on payments and the compliance work associated with operating virtual economies, and it will provide services for both Second Life and Project Sansar." It's also the genus name of about thirty species of trees that are sometimes called "linden trees," which may be why Linden Lab was interested in the name.

The response by the residents has been more than a little confusion, on both various Discord servers and the Second Life forums. The "Tilia Takes Over" thread has already reached 18 pages as of the writing of this article. There were a number of questions such as would people be hit with bills for not buying or selling Lindens? Was this Age Verification all over again? And there were no shortage of comments such as "Linden Labs, I am very disappointed in you. ... Some have accused you of a bait and switch over the Linden Homes and they were wrong. But inducing people to re-up for another year and then springing a change in the terms of service a week later is a true bait and switch."

While some expressed worry, others such as Becky Nosferatu stated there wasn't much for most residents to worry about. Some however would be paying more.

This took me nearly 20 minutes to figure this out. For those who are in the know, there is a new law and a new ISSUE now, involving the way Linden Lab works with real-world money.

When you buy or sell Lindens, you have a middle ground where the Lindens goes to. So think of that as your virtual wallet. This money just sits there until you cash out (send to Paypal) or your buy in (convert it to Lindens).

Now, what the above means is if you have 0.00 in that "wallet" let's call it, it will do nothing to you. You won't get any fees, you won't be charged, etc.

For people who DO cash out or in, if you have money IN that wallet, and you LEAVE IT THERE FOR A YEAR, they will count that as being inactive and start hitting you with fees. It will take from your "wallet" until you either cash it out or use it, or until your balance reaches 0.00.

Everyone, unless you are under 18, are required to pony up your valuable info IF you want to use the cash out/buy in feature to get Linden dollars. This is EXPECTED of you. As of August 1. this new system will take effect. They're already making a new account for everyone on SL.

What it also means though, if you are over 18 and want to cash out, you must offer up personal info, including your social. A ton of people are not cool with that concept, but trust me, they wouldn't ask for it if they didn't have to.

Why are they doing this? There is a new law in place that affects US and international citizens. This new law means that if you are working with crypto (virtual) currency, you CAN NOT hoard this currency for "better prices" before you cash out, because that is LAUNDERING and that is a big no-no. It's like if you get word fhe stock market is going to crash, you pullout all your funds from said stock and sell it. That, my friends, can net you prison time.

If you don't ever cash out or buy in? You don't have to worry about this at all. You are completely immune and nothing will come of it for you.

If you're like me, however, you are subject to fees when you cash out; Linden Lab's fees, and whatever Tilia's going to charge as well. Nothing we can really do about it.

Becky cited an article in Coindesk.com, referring to a statement from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

There's plenty of information and more than a little legalese to go through. But it seems Tilia being put into action isn't just for the Lab to put up more hoops for residents to jump through and another fee to pay (and maybe higher tier prices from landlords having to pass down feed imposed on them to break even). It appears Linden Lab is doing this due to wanting to avoid legal trouble from the US Government.

As Second Life has adapted technically to change to fit with the times over the past sixteen years, it seems it has to adapt to changes, or at least greater enforcement of, laws dealing with the Internet and commerce as well.

Source: Modem World, Wikipedia, Coindesk.com

Bixyl Shuftan

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