Second Life’s First Virtual Millionaire


I came across this article on Business Week about Anshe Chung. She’s is the world’s first virtual millionaire. You see, Anshe isn’t real. She’s a made up person in the game Second Life. Anshe Chung is the Second Life account of Ailin Graef. She issued the following press release after Miss Chung achieved her millionaire status.

Anshe Chung has become the first online personality to achieve a net worth exceeding one million US dollars from profits entirely earned inside a virtual world.

Recently featured on the cover of Business Week Magazine, Anshe Chung is a resident in the virtual world Second Life. Inside Second Life, Anshe buys and develops virtual real-estate in an official currency, known as Linden Dollars, which is convertible to US Dollars. There is also a liquid market in virtual real estate, making it possible to assess the value of her total holdings using publicly available statistics.

The fortune Anshe Chung commands in Second Life includes virtual real estate that is equivalent to 36 square kilometers of land – this property is supported by 550 servers or land “simulators”. In addition to her virtual real estate holdings, Anshe has “cash” holdings of several million Linden Dollars, several virtual shopping malls, virtual store chains, and she has established several virtual brands in Second Life. She also has significant virtual stock market investments in Second Life companies.

Anshe Chung’s achievement is all the more remarkable because the fortune was developed over a period of two and a half years from an initial investment of $9.95 for a Second Life account by Anshe’s creator, Ailin Graef. Anshe/Ailin achieved her fortune by beginning with small scale purchases of virtual real estate which she then subdivided and developed with landscaping and themed architectural builds for rental and resale.

The valuation of the virtual land holdings is based on property value statistics published by Linden Lab and current simulator prices. Based on these statistics a valuation of one million dollars in virtual assets is conservative, and the actual value may be significantly higher.

Ailin Graef has been able to turn Anshe’s online life into a real life business call Anshe Chung Studios. Anshe Chung Studios has offices in Wuhan, China and is currently seeking to expand its workforce from 25 to 50.

21 thoughts on “Second Life’s First Virtual Millionaire”

  1. Ed says:

    If only we had taken Linden’s offer back in the day, huh?

  2. Cynical says:

    hi John,

    don’t you consider it worth disclosing to your readers that you didn’t write this blog post — you simply copied and pasted the press release that is publicly available on Anshe Chung’s Web site?

    See here.



  3. John Chow says:

    I did give a link. It’s listed under “Sources”

  4. John Chow says:

    OK, I see what you mean now. I’ve correct it. Thanks.

  5. Cynical says:

    Cheers John!


  6. Nomar says:

    interesting !! good article

  7. Carl says:

    If only he’d spent all that time developing his business in REAL LIFE, he might have $1 million of REAL MONEY and not just a $10 monthly fee on his credit card statement…

  8. Thomas Czaszynski says:

    Yah i was under the impression this was virtual money that could be taken out as cash, guess not

  9. Michael Kwan says:

    Interesting story, but I have to agree with Cynical in that this comes off as your original writing all the way up until the end where it says that this was a cut and paste. I thought the tone of the post was significantly different than what you’ve written in the past. Perhaps it is more appropriate to either place the sourcing information at the top, or to write a short piece on your own summarizing/commenting on the original, and then supplying a link to the source at the bottom.

  10. Ed says:

    In case you didn’t know, Carl, Second Life’s money translates into real life money…about 257 Linden Dollars per USD.

  11. John Chow says:

    Michael – Man, you guys are making me work! LOL How’s that? 🙂

  12. Yeah the SecondLife money can be cashed out.

    I believe they are in fact meaning that she can cash out her SecondLife dollars for the equivilent of US$1million dollars if she chose to.

    I dabbled briefly in SL, using a free standard account, and found that most people involved in Secondlife act basically as consumers, running around buying things which interest them, etc – while others naturally tend to find it more engaging to create virtual products/services, and sell them in the virtual world.

  13. Matt $ says:

    Unreal! I almost joined second life about a year ago, kinda wish I had now. I have heard lots of good things about it. I think I remember reading that MIT has a virtual campus in there? In my opinion second life could eventually become another youtube or myspace.

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  16. Carl says:

    So to buy the online currency with which you can buy stuff in the game, you have to pay real money?

  17. David Mackey says:

    Thats crazy! 50 workers! How much does her Linden money translate to in real cash?

  18. Sonia says:

    The concept has been around for years. I remember what’s-it-called Japanese game about 5 years ago.

  19. Ed Lau says:

    David, I’m sure what the post means is that she has made a million dollars US in the game (approximately $257 million Linden Dollars).

    And yes, you have to buy things with real money in the game. You purchase Linden Dollars through their website. You can have like…a job and stuff…and there’s a stock market and brands and malls…it’s actually pretty cool.

    …no, I don’t play.

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