SLCapex is a stock exchange owned and operated by "residents" of the online virtual world Second Life. Despite its almost complete lack of regulation and legal protections against fraud or insider trading, issuers were able to raise approximately US$145,000 from investors, which grew to US$900,000 in market value before plummeting, resulting in overall investor returns of 271%. Investors in large issuances lost more than investors in small issuances, and small investors experienced more severe losses relative to large investors when more money was at stake, indicating that the market did a poor job of protecting investors from issuers and of providing a level playing field for investors. Theories from financial economics can explain the markets' poor performance in the absence of regulatory and legal institutions, but they cannot easily explain why issuers were able to raise capital in such a setting.
This article appears with the permission of the Southern Economic Association © 2011.
Source: Southern Economic Journal
Bloomfield, Robert, and Young Jun Cho. "Unregulated Stock Markets in Second Life." Southern Economic Journal 78, no. 1 (2011): 6-29.