If a Jew lends a player in a multiplayer online game money, and he knows without a doubt that that player is Jewish, does the prohibition of ribis apply? (After all, the only thing that changed was a couple of 1s and 0s on a server somewhere...)

For example, would it be permissable to charge a pre-arranged fee if the loan is not paid back on time, or even a percentage, in the setting of an online game?

It seems from this that the halacha is not related to virtual goods until they become real money. If that's true, would it also apply to virtual money? If not, would the fact that selling the virtual currency for real money is a violation of the game's terms and conditions change anything?

  • 1
    Please clarify if at any point the virtual money can be redeemed real money... Commented Jul 10, 2014 at 9:31
  • @Danny-schoemann Its a black market, meaning its against the TAC of the game (which every player agrees to). To sell cash, you have to make sure he has a trustworthy buyer. There are sites that pretend to buy the virtual cash, and some actually do. It's a trust trade: You give them the cash, and they may or may not pay your paypal account for it after. However, it is possible to find a legitimate buyer, add him on skype, and then sell on a moment's notice. My question would then include if it makes a difference if such a system has been set up for either party. Commented Jul 10, 2014 at 16:25
  • What I'd be interested in is something like bitcoin.
    – andrewmh20
    Commented Jul 10, 2014 at 17:40
  • 1
    @andrewmh20 That question was already asked here
    – MTL
    Commented Jul 10, 2014 at 18:03
  • This is a duplicate of judaism.stackexchange.com/q/74005 (but restricted for no apparent reason to online games whereas that's about any game).
    – msh210
    Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 21:43


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