SL Capital Exchange was established in 2007 and is a stock market simulation game of skill. It was purchased by Skip Oceanlane in January of 2011 and served the Second Life community for three years until LL’s new skill gaming policy halted CapEx’s operations on November 1, 2014. The SL Enquirer was able to get an exclusive candid interview with Skip Oceanlane about Capex’s current status and what’s to expect from this lucrative stock market simulation game.
Interview with Skip Oceanlane
Lanai Jarrico: Skip can you give a brief description of what Capex is and how long it has been in SL?
Skip Oceanlane: Capital Exchange has existed within Second Life since 2007. I bought the exchange in January, 2011, and turned it into what it is today - a stock market simulation game of skill.
Lanai Jarrico: Second Life is strict on gaming. How has this affected CapEx operations?
Skip Oceanlane: The new skill gaming policy has in effect halted Capital Exchange's operations since November 1, 2014. Furthermore, since the initial announcement of the new skill gaming policy in July 2014, activity decreased significantly due to uncertainty.
Lanai Jarrico: Yes I have noticed your hiatus. It is very unfortunate how this has affected Capex. Can you explain the gaming application process?
Skip Oceanlane: Linden Lab instituted a skill gaming application process where you pay an initial fee to apply, and then completed some general questions about your game. Creators and Operators both had to apply. After a wait of 2-3 months, a legal representative of Linden Lab made contact, and then the applicant would give specific information about their game.
Lanai Jarrico: So you have applied? If so what has been the outcome so far?
Skip Oceanlane: Yes, I sent in my application the first day the policy was announced. As of today, I still do not have a yes or no answer from Linden Lab on my skill gaming application.
Lanai Jarrico: What do you think is causing the delay in this process?
Skip Oceanlane: It's my personal opinion that Linden Lab is doing all it can to dissuade anyone from getting approval through this process. The law firm representing me has submitted tons of specific information to the attorney representing Linden Lab, as well as e-mails and phone calls back and forth. Each time we submit information, Linden Lab requests new information, or says the information we submitted needs to be in more detail.
Lanai Jarrico: Do you think this has to do with taxes and that sort of legal thing since this is a global platform anyone can have access to? It seems fishy that they are conducting themselves this way.
Skip Oceanlane: I believe Linden Lab is trying to protect themselves legally. I even agree with them that they must do due diligence to ensure that all operations inside their game meet the letter of the law. However, I think they are going too far, and hurting their own business. As you know, Second Life has been declining for years. This new restrictive skill gaming policy meant to shut down most skill gaming related businesses will only further help their decline.
Lanai Jarrico: I agree the way they have been making decisions is a direct result of our community’s decline. It sounds like you are doing everything they asked of you and being compliant is there anything else you would like to point out about this problem? Will you continue to try for the sake of Capex and its members?
Skip Oceanlane: Yes, I have done everything asked by Linden Lab's legal representative, and I believe the legal information submitted was more than enough to allow me to continue operations within Second Life. I do question why no one has been approved after October 2014. I wasn't even contacted by a legal representative until after then. I suspect that they favored certain people and their games, and everyone else wasn't given the same fair consideration. I believe at this point, only those that threaten legal action will get approval. I am in the process of hiring a new law firm in the hopes that perhaps they can obtain the information Linden Lab is requesting, which is a 40-state breakdown of their laws and how Capital Exchange meets the "predominance test" in each jurisdiction.
Lanai Jarrico: That's interesting. I wonder if it has to do with their interest in starting the new grid.
Skip Oceanlane: I think it has everything to do with that.
Lanai Jarrico: If that turns out to be the case would you take Capex there and try the application process again?
Skip Oceanlane: No, I have no plans to relocate to any new grid owned by Linden Lab. I want to state to your readers that I have been a loyal player of Second Life since 2007. I have paid tier fees since then in excess of US$100,000 on all the sims I have owned. In addition, the game activity created about US$250,000 a year in Linden Dollar activity - some years even higher.
Lanai Jarrico: Impressive. Those are high numbers for LL to be delaying you and treating your money as if it was just game credits.
Skip Oceanlane: I am tremendously disappointed at how poorly I have been treated during this process, and even comments from Linden Lab's legal department have been disingenuous.
Lanai Jarrico: If they aren’t taking members like you seriously, I can only imagine how easily it would be for them to pull the plug on the rest of us.
Skip Oceanlane: I don’t think they are close to “pulling the plug” however they certainly aren’t providing enough electricity and causing us brownouts, so to speak. Lanai, all I am asking is to be treated fairly. Their request for a 40-state breakdown of each of their laws and how they pertain to Capital Exchange's legality is impossible unless I had a few hundred thousand US$ hanging around.
Lanai Jarrico: Understood. So where do you go from here?
Skip Oceanlane: I am in the process of seeking new counsel to see if it's possible for me to give Linden Lab what they are asking for. As to where do I go from here? Forward. I have made the decision to stop using the Linden Dollar, and operate on the slcapex.com website independently of Second Life. It was a tough decision to make because I still love the game of Second Life, but Linden Lab and their legal people left me no alternative. CapEx players will still be able to check their balances, and reset their passwords in-world of Second Life, however I am switching to my own currency, the CapEx Dollar (CD$). Furthermore, I will be allowing non-Second Life players to join Capital Exchange, which will increase our potential membership by the millions.
Lanai Jarrico: How will they be able to exchange their CapEx Dollars into real cash?
Skip Oceanlane: I will be using PayPal for people to cash in and out. My exchange fee will only be .99%, as opposed to Linden Lab who charges 3.5%. Also for now I will be keeping my in-world sim of Capital Exchange, and my avatar Skip Oceanlane will be sitting in the usual chair behind the Information Desk. I want to keep the "virtual" part of the game, but 99% of everything occurred on our website anyways, so other than the currency change, not much will be different – except for a soon to be done overhaul of the website for a new modern look.
Lanai Jarrico: That sounds like a safe option and quite lucrative for Capex.
Skip Oceanlane: Yes. People will fund their accounts via credit card or debit card, then buy CapEx Dollars. They then can cash out their earnings, pay the .99% fee, and receive the US$ to their PayPal accounts. No real difference than what they do with Linden Dollars and Second Life.
Lanai Jarrico: You are basically cutting out the middle man (LL) and doing it legally in the real world using a virtual world target audience.
Skip Oceanlane: Yes, that is correct.
Lanai Jarrico: Any final thoughts?
Skip Oceanlane: Yes. I wanted to thank everyone who has played Capital Exchange over the years, especially those who have hung in there during this recent period of adversity caused by Linden Lab. As promised, I have found a way to keep the game alive, and now it will grow to new levels and be better than ever before. I have made a substantial investment in the software, so look for an entirely new look with new features soon – and even a new website address of www.onlinecapex.com. If “LL” doesn’t want me anymore, then time to drop the “SL” and move forward. Thanks Lanai for helping me tell my side of the story.
Lanai Jarrico: You heard it here first. CapEx lives on!
For more information visit: www.slcapex.com
Teleport to CapEx: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Crystal%20Springs/191/202/26