UWE holds virtual banking and financial crime conference

Issue date: 27 August 2013

Date: 04 September 2013

Venue: Innovation Island, Second Life

Time: 9:00 - 16:00

A conference on banking and finance law and regulation, also looking at virtual world financial crimes, will be held on UWE Bristol's Second Life Innovation Island on 4 September.

This will be the first time UWE has held a virtual world conference. Dr Clare Chambers-Jones from the Faculty of Business and Law is organising it so the latest ideas on banking and finance law can be shared and explored in a virtual world environment.

Clare says, “At UWE we have our own Island within the virtual 3D platform Second Life, and the conference will take place there.

“It is a great platform for discussing innovative areas of research and allows delegates to participate globally without the impact of travelling on their time. It is also the first time that banking and finance regulation in the virtual world is being discussed and it is hoped that from this conference interest will grow so we can hold a second conference next year.

“People need a Second Life avatar to take part in the conference. This format will allow people to participate at a distance, yet still feel present among colleagues from all over the world.”

Topics will include:

· online financial transactions

· the credit crisis and European banking and finance

· online / virtual financial crime

· digital currencies

· e-gold / e-money

· financial crisis management

· new regulatory reform for banking and finance, on-line and off-line

· online banking security

· internet privacy

Clare's interest in the legal structure of virtual worlds goes back several years. She has recently finished an 18-month project which examined the legal structure of virtual worlds – residents of virtual worlds use real money to buy virtual goods such as land, businesses or consumer items, which can then be sold on or exchanged. In some instances these monetary transactions enable financial crimes to be committed.

Opportunities for financial crime include people providing false online identities, tax evasion and unregulated cross-border money movements.

Clare continued, “On an average day, about £750,000 changes hands in the most popular virtual world platforms. The number of users of Second Life has soared from 700,000 in 2003 to 6.2 million in 2013.

“The difficulty for financial crime and banking law lies in confusion over in which jurisdiction the crime has taken place. My research was a global examination of the laws relating to virtual worlds and whether we can assimilate real world laws into a virtual world.

“It included recommendations on how the government can regulate this growing virtual crime - for example, the UK government can ensure that funds exchanged in this way count as genuine financial instruments, covered by existing laws and regulations.”

Her current research looks at whether gambling laws are also allowing criminals to use massively multiplayer online role-playing games or MMORPGs to launder money from illicit gains.

There is still time to register for the conference either as a participant or as a member of the audience. For more information email clare.chambers@uwe.ac.uk. Full instructions as to how to join Second Life will be provided.

Clare has written Virtual Economies and Financial Crime: Money Laundering in Cyberspace, published in 2012 by Edward Elgar.

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