Another Awesome EVE Online Scam
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A massive investment scam recently netted a player $850 billion in ISK (EVE’s currency) in the amazingly complicated EVE Online recently. The perpetrator of the scheme, “Bad Bobby,” spent years developing his reputation as an investor before high-tailing with billions of virtual space-bucks. Just to put this in perspective, $850 billion ISK is worth 2575 PLEXs (Pilot License EXtension) which adds 30 days of game time. That’s 214 years of playing time, or $45,000 real dollars worth of value.
Here’s how it all went down. Bad Bobby started an investment plan called Titans4U, intending to buy and secure blueprints for titan ships with investment money. The blueprints would be locked down in a secret hangar, and a starbase would make limited-run blueprint copies, sell them, and distribute the proceeds as dividends to all the investors.
To further increase the guise of legitimacy, votes from five investment trustees previously active in EVE’s investment community would be required to release the blueprints or liquidate their value. As long as no member got more than 50% of the shares in the trust, no one member could send the whole thing tits up.
Secure right? But here’s the smart bit. Bad Bobby initiated a vote to add more shares under the auspice of adding more trustees. The vote passed, Bobby bought the additional shares, gained more than a 50% share, and kicked all the other trustees out before cashing out the whole operation. Naturally this lead to a dramastorm with investors calling out Bobby’s character. His response is chillingly pragmatic:
I have been a pirate for most of my eve life. I hunt the weak and the foolish, I blow up their ships, pop their pods and take their stuff. That reputation is not harmed in the least by this scam.
The reputation that I had for honesty and competence in business that was forged within MD was cashed in for 850b. I felt that to be the optimal exchange rate that I was going to get, with time and effort factored in.
Also, the only “name in the mud” as far as this is concerned is Bad Bobby and other known alts. I have other names that are not so effected and have plenty of reputation to work with. It didn’t take me long to build Bad Bobby and it didn’t take me long to build the others. Once you learn the skills to build and sell reputation then it is those that are important, the reputation itself is just the commodity you trade in.
EVE Online is rearing the next generation of business scammers and large-scale defrauders. At least this one happened in a digital space, and isn’t it downright awesome that it can?