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Bitstarz.Com review – What Is A Bitcoin Casino, And Where To Find Them
What Is A Bitcoin Casino, And Where To Find Them?What Is A Bitcoin Casino, And Where To …
Bitstarz.Com review – What Is A Bitcoin Casino, And Where To Find Them
What Is A Bitcoin Casino, And Where To Find Them?What Is A Bitcoin Casino, And Where To Find Them?
If you have closely been following the fintech industry, you should by now know that one of the buzzwords that have been trending for the last decade is Bitcoin. For those who may not know, Bitcoin is a digital currency that can be used to make transactions using a distributed ledger system called a Blockchain.
With the growth of cryptocurrencies, many industries have taken advantage of the advantages that these currencies have over the fiat ones. One of the major merits that digital currencies possess is the security and privacy of the transactions thanks to the immutability of the blockchain.
Security and privacy are some of the main reasons industries like online gambling have started adopting the use of digital currencies to do their transactions. The use of digital currencies has led to the birth of Bitcoin casinos the most trending gambling platform at the moment.What Is A Bitcoin Casino?
Bitcoin casinos refer to online gambling platforms that use Bitcoin currency or other cryptocurrencies as their means of doing transactions. Some of the Bitcoin casinos also use the blockchain system as their backbone system in transferring data.
Most of the Bitcoin betting platforms do not use dollars or any other currency in doing their transactions, they instead use the coin for deposits and making payouts as well. For those who may not know, Bitcoin is the most famous cryptocurrency that was invented in 2008. Since then, its value and userbase have been growing. Its value is currently at around $10,000 per Bitcoin.
So, in simpler terms, casinos (online gambling platforms) that uses Bitcoin as the means of doing payments and making deposits are what we refer to as Bitcoin casinos.
Some other gambling sites are using other cryptocurrencies besides the specific coin. However, the mentioned one is the most famous digital currency, and most online casinos prefer using it over other digital currencies whose future is not as certain as that of Bitcoin.Is Bitcoin Casino Legal?
Bitcoin casinos legally operate mainly in countries that accept the use of cryptocurrencies. Due to the uncontrollable nature of digital currencies, there are several countries like China and Colombia that do not allow the use of cryptocurrencies as a means of payment.
However, a good number of countries appreciate the many benefits that digital currencies bring to the fintech industry and have accepted them legally operate.
Due to the fact the complexity involved in tracking Bitcoin transactions, people still do these transactions even in the countries that do not allow digital currencies.How Do The Casinos Operate?
Just like the cryptocurrency, a good number of Bitcoin casinos use the blockchain system as the backend platform when it comes to transferring data and making transactions.
Just to tell you a little more about Blockchain technology it is some form of digital ledger that enables the transfer of data from one computer to another in small chunks called blocks. The connections of these blocks are what creates a Blockchain. Data transfer in a blockchain system moves from peer to peer and doesnt involve central servers.
Unlike other types of online gambling platforms, some of the Bitcoin gambling platforms do not need central servers to operate, all their data is purely transferred over the blockchain. However, most of the casinos simply use the coin as the means of making payments and accepting deposits.Transaction Methods in Bitcoin Casino
There are even some Bitcoin casinos that still use other payment methods besides the cryptocurrency to do their transactions. Using Blockchain to host an online casino system is possible but it has several bottlenecks since the online casino itself has limited control over how the data is transferred on the blockchain.
With such challenges, most of the Bitcoin casinos have chosen to use the currency for only accepting payments and nothing beyond that.
Like any online casinos, Bitcoin casinos also partner with game software developers to supply them with games on their platform.
The experience of playing games on the casinos is very similar to that of the normal online ones. The only difference is while making payments, youll need to have a Bitcoin Wallet because your Wallet number will be needed when you are signing up as this is where your payouts are sent when you win.What is Included in The Casinos?
Bitcoin casinos also have a wide range of games that include table games like Poker and blackjack. They also have games in other categories like slots and fishing games.
The way these games are played is entirely the same as playing the games on any other online casinos. So, dont be afraid of trying out these casinos simply because they are Bitcoin casino. Every other thing besides payments is similar to what youd get from another type of online betting site.Why Play In Cryptocurrency Casinos?
Casinos that use Bitcoin to process their transactions enjoy all the benefits of transacting through digital currencies. Some of these benefits include,a) Small Transactions Fees
The fact that Bitcoin has no particular company that controls it means the only costs incurred in processing payments is the commission given to the miners who put up their computers to act as nodes on the blockchain network.
Not having a centralized system leads to a significant drop in transaction fees. With low transaction fees, players can make their deposits and also receive their payouts without feeling a lot of impact in terms of the cost of transferring funds.b) No Need To Do Currency Exchange
For as long as you have your Bitcoins on your wallet, you will be able to make your deposits without having to change them into dollars or any other fiat currencies. This kind of system makes it more convenient for the players to do their transactions.
It is also less costly. The fact that Governments have limited control over these coins makes it easier for even foreign players to use a Bitcoin casino with limited challenges in terms of currency exchange.c) Privacy
Many people would love to do their online gambling without being tracked by third-party companies and governments.
Using traditional payment methods means companies that own these payment platforms can know how you are spending your money. This leaves your fate in their hands in case one wants to get your information regarding how you spend your money.
On the other hand, Bitcoin transactions do not involve third party companies in the middle of the transactions. Everything happens in a peer to peer nature, which makes it hard for any third-party company to get information regarding your gambling activities.
The issue of privacy is one of the main reasons that has led to the growth of Bitcoin casinos people love their privacy!d) It Gives You A Chance To Bypass Geolocation Restrictions
For instance, several countries do not allow online gambling, and any transaction that is seen to be heading to an online casino is canceled immediately by the financial systems of these countries.
However, with a blockchain system, there is no way of tracking these transactions since they dont go through the central servers of any financial institutions in those countries.
This allows people interested in gambling but within countries where its not allowed to also get involved. So, if you are in a country that restricts online gambling, one of the ways that you can bypass these restrictions is through playing at a Bitcoin casino.Impact Of Bitcoin Casinos On Cryptocurrency Transactions
The online gambling industry is big and unstoppable by anyone because people love gambling. Thats why even in countries where gambling is not allowed, there are still online casinos that are based there.
The growth of Bitcoin gambling platforms means more transactions are being via Bitcoins blockchain. This at the end of the day makes the particular cryptocurrency more popular and also earns its miners more commissions.Challenges Faced By The Casinos
Bitcoin brought a new way of transferring money from one person to another. However, it is still criticized by some financial experts who dont believe it is a more feasible alternative to the current payment methods that use traditional currencies.
This means all the casinos and players that use Bitcoin as their mode of payment still get a couple of challenges as a result of using this payment method.
Some of these challenges include,a) Bitcoins Value Is Unstable
The fact that there is no central authority that controls the transactions done on Bitcoin means the value of this currency is controlled mainly by the market forces of demand and supply.
The current value of one piece of BTC in Ringgit Malaysia is around RM 43,180. (10 Sept 2020)
Therefore, whenever there are volatile changes in the market forces of demand and supply, the value of the Bitcoin will be highly affected. This is something that affects both the related casinos and players as well.b) There Are Still People That Are Skeptical About Digital Currencies
The fact that this currency has been around for a few years means some people still doubt whether it will be around for many more years ahead. People who think in this direction will likely not be confident playing at a Bitcoin casino.
It is for this reason that some Bitcoin casinos still allow payments using traditional currencies like dollars. This gives the players to choose the payment option that they are comfortable with.c) It Is Not Easy To Buy Bitcoins In Some Countries
If an online casino only accepts Bitcoins, it makes it hard for people in countries that dont allow cryptocurrencies to access such a casino. This is because they will find it hard to find a reliable source to buy the cryptocurrency.
In this case, they may have to use someone from another country to help them buy the Bitcoins on their behalf, which is a lengthy procedure. This at the end of the day reduces the userbase of such casinos due to these limitations.d) Transactions Are A Little Slow
The fact that data goes through several verification processes increases the time required to process a transaction. With other payment methods like VISA, most of the transactions happen in real-time.
Consequently, a casino that only accepts Bitcoins will often find issues in terms of the processing speed of its transactions. However, the cryptocurrency community is working on this, and soon we expect the transactions to be much faster than they are today.e) Reputations For Criminality
Bitcoin in its early days was used by lots of criminals and scammers on the internet, which made most people uncomfortable using it at the start.
However, this is slowly changing as many people are now accepting the fact that Bitcoin can be used for making normal transactions and Charming Queens btc slots FortuneJack Casino online not only illegal ones like it was in the early days.What Are The Popular Bitcoin Casinos?
There are currently limited choices of online casinos that accept cryptocurrencies on their platform. Here we listed some of the popular ones that are trustable and reliable,a) BitCasino.io
BitCasino.io was the first fully licensed Bitcoin online gambling platform. The authorities in Curacao, The Netherlands Antilles authorized this in 2013. This casino uses the interface CoinGaming which includes games from world-leading software developers such as BetSoft and Microgaming.
These are widely available over many various devices via your web browser. While the range of games is the same as the other cryptocurrency betting platforms, BitCasino distinguishes itself by creating a consistent public image and providing integrated sports betting.b) mBitCasino.com
MBit Casino, managed by Direx N.V., is amongst the most popular Bitcoin Casinos, that provide the best offers, and more. The platform has received great feedback from many analysts since its launch in 2014.
It promises to also be the go-to platform for Bitcoin entertainment for a growing number of people across the globe. And to achieve this mission, mBit ensures that customers like you have the best experience possible with multiple games, lucrative incentives, and pleasant support personnel.c) me88my.com
One of the latest and trendiest online casinos in Malaysia with the largest pool of active players. As there are no Bitcoin casinos currently in Malaysia, me88 aims to be the first to offer this service in the country.
The casino has been offering superior services and online entertainment to all of its players. This is done possibly with the wide variety of betting games and great customer service that is personalized to each and every player of the platform.
Players are able to expect the first online casino Malaysia that offers cryptocurrencies from me88 Malaysia within the next few months. Check out the official website here at www.me88my.com.Final Thoughts
Bitcoin casinos are steadily growing in popularity thanks to the many advantages that using the currency as the payment method brings to these casinos.
The privacy and immutability of Bitcoin transactions make it possible for people who want their identity to remain private more comfortable using Bitcoin casinos over other forms of online gambling sites. This is because the information needed while opening a Bitcoin wallet is only your username, password, and email. Nothing else more than that!
Despite their rapid growth, Bitcoin casinos still have a lot of work to do in terms of making the idea understood to the people that are skeptical about digital currencies.
This can be done by educating the players about how digital currencies work and the many advantages they have over the traditional currencies they normally use. With this kind of knowledge, it will be pretty easy to attract more players on board.
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North Carolina CasinosAverage Rating 3.4 / 5Top Rated Online Casinos for North Carolina
Casino is closed
first opened on. They closed their doors permanently on. A new casino, has opened in its place.
100 Table Games
North Carolina Casino Information
North Carolina has 6 casinos in which you’ll find more than 6,076 slots and gaming machines. There are a total of 224 table games. The minimum bet we’ve found at casinos in North Carolina is $0.01 and the maxium bet is $100. Click a casino on the left for more information on a particular property.
If you wish to stay at some nice casino hotels in North Carolina, visit the North Carolina casino hotels page. We actually have 2 North Carolina hotels you can book directly from World Casino Directory. Click here to see a list of all North Carolina hotels available.
There is poker in North Carolina! You will find over 20 live poker tables to play at. You will find the following games in North Carolina casinos: NL Texas Hold’em, Omaha Hi-Lo, NL Holdem, 7 Card Stud. Some North Carolina casinos also offer convention centers and meeting spaces. Over the entire town, you will find a total of 104,000 conference sq/ft space in the various casino properties.
North Carolina Casinos and Gambling FactsNorth Carolina Casinos and the Biggest Casino City in North Carolina
North Carolina has a total of 6 casinos and pari-mutuel facilities at your disposal which are spread out across 5 cities throughout the state. The city with the most is Cherokee with 2 casinos.
Biggest Casino / Gaming Facility in North Carolina
Out of all casinos in North Carolina you’ll find Harrahs Cherokee Casino to be the biggest. It has 3280 gaming machines and 100 table games. You can reach South Point Casino by phone at (828) 497-7777 or by clicking this link: Harrahs Cherokee Casino to see its information page.
2nd Biggest Casino / Gaming Facility in North Carolina
Coming in second place for largest casino in North Carolina is Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort with 1796 gaming machines and 54 table games. This casino can be reached by clicking this link: Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort to see its information page.
§ 14-7.20.Continuing criminal enterprise.
(a) Any person who engages in a continuing criminal enterprise shall be punished as a Class H felon and in addition shall be subject to the forfeiture prescribed in subsection (b) of this section.
(b) Any person who is convicted under subsection (a) of this section of engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise shall forfeit to the State of North Carolina:
(1) The profits obtained by the person in the enterprise, and
(2)Any of the person’s interest in, claim against, or property or contractual rights of any kind affording a source of influence over, such enterprise.
(c) For purposes of this section, a person is engaged in a continuing criminal enterprise if:
(1)The person violates any provision of this Chapter, the punishment of which is a felony, and
(2)The violation is a part of a continuing series of violations of this Chapter:
a. Which are undertaken by the person in concert with five or more other persons with respect to whom the person occupies a position of organizer, a supervisory position, or any other position of management, and
b. From which the person obtains substantial income or resources.
SUBCHAPTER XI. GENERAL POLICE REGULATIONS.
Article 37. Lotteries, Gaming, Bingo and Raffles.
Part 1.Lotteries and Gaming.
North Carolina has passed legislation providing for a State lottery. The text of the engrossed act is available online at ll.pdf
Except as provided in Chapter 18C of the General Statutes or in connection with a lawful raffle as provided in Part 2 of this Article, if anyone by writing or printing or by circular or letter or in any other way, advertises or publishes an account of a lottery, whether within or without this State, stating how, when or where the same is to be or has been drawn, or what are the prizes therein or any of them, or the price of a ticket or any share or interest therein, or where or how it may be obtained, he shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor. News medium as defined in G.S. 8 53.11 shall be exempt from this section provided the publishing is in connection with a lawful activity of the news medium..
§ 14-290.Dealing in lotteries.
Except as provided in Chapter 18C of the General Statutes or in connection with a lawful raffle as provided in Part 2 of this Article, if any person shall open, set on foot, carry on, promote, make or draw, publicly or privately, a lottery, by whatever name, style or title the same may be denominated or known, or if any person shall, by such way and means, expose or set to sale any house, real estate, goods, chattels, cash, written evidence of debt, certificates of claims or Club hollywood online casino any other thing of value whatsoever, every person so offending shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor which may include a fine not to exceed two thousand dollars ($2,000). Any person who engages in disposing of any species of property whatsoever, including money and evidences of debt, or in any manner distributes gifts or prizes upon tickets, bottle crowns, bottle caps, seals on containers, other devices or certificates sold for that purpose, shall be held liable to prosecution under this section. Any person who shall have in his possession any tickets, certificates or orders used in the operation of any lottery shall be held liable under this section, and the mere possession of such tickets shall be prima facie evidence of the violation of this section. This section shall not apply to the possession of a lottery ticket or share for a lottery game being lawfully conducted in another state.
§ 14-291.Selling lottery tickets and acting as agent for lotteries.
Selling lottery tickets and acting as agent for lotteries.
Except as provided in Chapter 18C of the General Statutes or in connection with a lawful raffle as provided in Part 2 of this Article, if any person shall sell, barter or otherwise dispose of any lottery ticket or order for any number of shares in any lottery, or shall in anywise be concerned in such lottery, by acting as agent in the State for or on behalf of any such lottery, to be drawn or paid either out of or within the State, such person shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.
§ 14-291.1.Selling “numbers” tickets, possession prima facie evidence of violation.
Except in connection with a lawful raffle as provided in Part 2 of this Article, if any person shall sell, barter or cause to be sold or bartered, any ticket, token, certificate or order for any number or shares in any lottery, commonly known as the numbers or butter and egg lottery, or lotteries of similar character, to be drawn or paid within or without the State, such person shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor. Any person who shall have in his possession any tickets, tokens, certificates or orders used in the operation of any such lottery shall be guilty under this section, and the possession of such tickets shall be prima facie evidence of the violation of this section.
§ 14-291.2.Pyramid and chain schemes prohibited.
(a) No person shall establish, operate, participate in, or otherwise promote any pyramid distribution plan, program, device or scheme whereby a participant pays a valuable consideration for the opportunity or chance to receive a fee or compensation upon the introduction of other participants into the program, whether or not such opportunity or chance is received in conjunction with the purchase of merchandise. A person who establishes or operates a pyramid distribution plan is guilty of a Class H felony. A person who participates in or otherwise promotes a pyramid distribution plan is deemed to participate in a lottery and is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.
(b) “Pyramid distribution plan” means any program utilizing a pyramid or chain process by which a participant gives a valuable consideration for the opportunity to receive compensation or things of value in return for inducing other persons to become participants in the program, and “Compensation” does not mean payment based on sales of goods or services to persons who are not participants in the scheme, and who are not purchasing in order to participate in the scheme.
(c) Any judge
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a scientist they've rescued from mutant aliens: Scientist: How about I sell you these, at cost? Ratchet: 'Sell?' After we just saved your scrawny butt? Scientist: All right, all right. I'll throw in …
a scientist they've rescued from mutant aliens: Scientist: How about I sell you these, at cost? Ratchet: 'Sell?' After we just saved your scrawny butt? Scientist: All right, all right. I'll throw in the employee discount too. Later on in the game you CAN get a discount at vendors...by using a mind control device. Averted in the third game where, if you have a save file from the original game, you can get the Gadgetron employee discount mentioned in passing at the end of the Gadgetron hoverboard race. Can be averted or played straight in Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale, seeing as you're the merchant and it's up to you whether or not adventurers get discounts. Tear recommends that you give discounts to the heroes you hire, even if at a loss sometimes, since it will save you from having to equip them when you go dungeon crawling. Think of it as an investment. Averted in Red Dead Redemption as a sufficiently famous and heroic John Marston can get up to 50% discount in the shops. However, the shops in the game's Wretched Hive, Thieves' Landing, which, in an inversion of the trope, only give a 50% discount if you are deeply criminal. In Resident Evil 4, the vendor(s?) charge you rather high prices for weapons and other items, even though Los Illuminados are just as much a threat to him as to you (Though Fanon and the heat scope show he may be infected, and thus in less danger). Lampooned in this Penny Arcade strip. To be fair, they do give you a great gun for free just for showing your skill at target practice. This particular vendors' greed seems to stem from pure laziness, since they will happily accept money you just took from the table right beside them. Averted in Romancing SaGa 2, where, as a monarch, the player has access to such ungodly sums of money from the country's treasury that they never have to worry about being able to afford equipment from stores. Building new facilities in their kingdom, on the other hand... Justified in Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, where you're on a self-sufficient exploration ship with a fabrication lab; the options aren't "buy" and "sell" but "Manufacture" and "Dispose," and they're just using the resources you picked up (and demon money, "macca,") to build stuff. Double-justified, since macca is actually a form of energy used to power the ship's fabricators and healing devices. Since there are a ton of wounded soldiers and soldiers who need better weapons, armor, and revived demons, if they all just extracted what they wanted without ponying up the energy difference in macca, you'd swiftly be out of juice in the heart of an alternate dimension filled with demons. Averted in Slime Forest Adventure, but in an unusual way. You're not a hero, you're a local farmer. You don't actually become a "hero" until after you've Saved the Princess (and even then, you only become a member of the royal guard rather than a famous hero). At the same time, the king inverts this. If you bring him some evidence that you've actually got a shot at saving the princess, he'll just give you an axe to replace the hoe you've been using. In Spyro the Dragon, Moneybags not only never gives you a discount, he charges you exorbitant amounts not only for items, and even sometimes to get places you need to go. Chasing after him in Year of the Dragon is more satisfying than fighting bosses. Justified in that he honestly doesn't care that Spyro is saving the world. He just wants the gems that Spyro's been getting. Lampshaded toward the end of Star Ocean: The Last Hope. The Morphus, an ancient and advanced race of galactic guardians, have recognized you as a group of remarkably powerful heroes, and have made you the spearhead in their strategy to prevent the destruction of the entire universe. However, if you approach their own weapons-vendor, he will curtly inform you that "Despite the impending end of the universe, we unfortunately cannot offer you a discount..." But actually it's averted - you can get a 10% discount in this and every other store, if you help the owner with a few Fetch Quests. You can find or craft several vending machines for your ship. Yes, you still have to pay full price for the items even when you own the "shop." Also lampshaded in Star Ocean: Second Evolution by an NPC mercenary at the Lacuer Frontline Base, who's planning to steal the equipment he needs to fight the monster army invading the country. Averted in Stonekeep. The only shop in the game is owned by a dwarf who'll charge you full price despite the fact that you're at war with their mortal enemies, the throggs...until you show him some feathers from a throgg shaman's headdress. He then goes on to tell you that his family was murdered by a throgg shaman (possibly the one you killed) and allows you to take whatever you want from his shop for free! The Suikoden games have this as well. In Suikoden I, you're the son of a well-respected general and later become The Leader of the army. Do you get any discounts? Nope. In Suikoden II, you're leading against another nation because of an Ax-Crazy Warrior Prince ravaging the land and you are a former child solider of his army. You can employ a glitch in the game that can give you unlimited money bur still no discount. In Summoner 2, much like Romancing SaGa, the PC is a Queen (and The Chosen One besides), with full access to the Royal Treasury... which, unfortunately, is rather bare when you start the game. Earn some gold by adventuring and invest it wisely, however, and your kingdom will soon start to earn you enough money to buy whatever equipment you need. Unfortunately, you can't buy equipment within your own kingdom. Guess that would be too easy... Tales of Symphonia: Played with Averted. Some service providers are initially happy to help out for free when they discover that you're the Chosen's group. Naturally, you quickly run into a group of people taking advantage of this by impersonating you. Played straight. None of the actual shops'll give you any credit. The shopkeeper in the Doomed Hometown won't give a discount for the people who are going to save the world and whom he's known forever. Even "Marble's" charges you full price, even after you are identified as the Chosen's group and directly save the lives of both Chocolat and Cacao, the owners of the shop. This likely stems from the party not wanting to take advantage of people, as said group of impersonators are more than happy to ask for discounts that they actually get. Averted again. Later when you get Regal, the president of a very powerful company his mere presence in the party gives you a 10% discount on everything you buy and 10% bonus for everything you sell (provided you have his EX Skill "Personal" on). But the name of said skill is "Charisma", meaning it is his charm, not his business connections or anything. As to why a character in tattered prison clothes, messy hair and handcuffs inspires such respect in shopkeepers is left unexplained. There's a similar aversion in Tales of the Abyss: Jade's "Emperor's Best Friend" title gives you a 10% discount buying, and Anise's Katz costume gives a 10% bonus selling. There's also a global economy system by which you reduce the price of goods in each town by doing sidequests that help out the townspeople, and reducing the price of goods in one location affects the price of the same goods in others. For example, since Engeve is stated to grow lots of food, lowering prices there will affect food prices worldwide. Played for laughs in Tales of Berseria. During the game, you come across a little man in a turtle suit. Turns out, he's part of a traveling merchant group whom are notorious for overpricing their items. Because the main characters in the game is a Anti-Hero at best and a Villain Protagonist at worst, it doesn't take long for him to fall in line and lower the prices, despite his constant whining about it. In Tears to Tiara, the hero tries to persuade Epona the shopkeeper to give stuff for free, because he is fighting for world peace and everything. She responds by giving a lecture that healthy economy is necessary for world peace, and if she will give stuff for free, it will ruin the economy. Said economic theory is definitely anachronistic. In the Diablo clone Throne of Darkness, you can rescue a blacksmith who then joins your home base. To improve his inventory, you have to give him found equipment that he can take apart. You can then buy better gear. That's right: you have to give him tons of stuff for free, but he'll charge you money for stuff you want. Note that the game takes place in a shogunate-era Japan overrun by demons and monsters, he works for you (or rather your master), and you saved his life. Lampshaded and averted in the final chapter of Treasure of the Rudra - Cid does give you a discount, but is chewed out because he still charges you at all, claiming he's selling from his personal emergency stash. In X-Men Legends II, Beast and Forge will charge their friends for health, energy and powerups. Pretty mercenary, considering that the X-Men and Brotherhood are using these items to defeat Apocalypse. Partly justified in that they accept not money, but "tech bits" (little pieces of Applied Phlebotinum dropped from enemies and destroyed objects). Justified in Lemegeton. You're not giving gold to Noiva as payment, but rather so she can use the stuff, being the king element and all, as alchemical fuel to create what you need. In Dink Smallwood mod Attack of the Mutant Veggies the only sword available costs 500 gold pieces and a note of permission from the king. When Dink argues that he should just be given the sword since he's the only one saving their butts from the title ex-foodstuffs, the blacksmith counters that he and his family still have to eat. In Heroine Quest, doing major favors for the shop keepers (rescuing one's child and helping two of them unite with each other) will not get you free stuff, but will get you everything sold at cost instead. It is the Fimblewinter, and people do have to eat. Steve Jackson's Sorcery: When the shopkeeper of the First Town tells you the price for rations, you can choose "Haggle" and your character will tell him that s/he is "the new best hope" for the kingdom. The shopkeeper apologises, but says "I still have to feed my family, whatever happens to the Crown." Like Clockwork plays with this (and Chainmail Bikini) right at the start with the smith. Justified and lampshaded in Avadon. One question you ask of the Fortress Quartermaster is why you should have to pay for equipment. He's heard it from everyone else, and it's because Redbeard wants the Hands to be self-sufficient as possible. The Black Market Imps in Pinball Quest charge you full price for better equipment. Justified as they don't care about your quest in the least. The Neptunia series deserves a special mention. In every game, your party contains the very goddesses that rule over the world, and yet you're still forced to buy all of your items and equipment. The first two Escape Velocity games do not give you any actual discounts, although certain missions could give you specific upgrades (usually ones you couldn't get elsewhere, and that were tied to the specific ship you were using at the time and so couldn't be transferred if you wanted to get a new ship), and both games had the explanation that you are technically a freelancing mercenary, so just being allowed to buy and use highly restricted military equipment is a pretty hefty concession already. The third game, Nova allowed for averting by adding titles the character could get, which behind the scenes could be set to reduce outfit costs by a given percentage from worlds controlled by the faction the title was tied to. Averted in Shovel Knight. Shovel Knight receives ichor from the Troupple King for free (though he still has to purchase a chalice to hold it). In Plague Knight's campaign "Plague of Shadows", the Troupple King charges Plague Knight a hefty sum for ichor, because he's a villain and therefore needs to pay a "repentance fee". This is actually an example of Gameplay and Story Integration: As Plague Knight you are buying armor upgrades, rather than just refilling your health potions. World of Warcraft: In the Warlods of Draenor expansion, vendors in your own garrison will charge you full price for their services. Kind of makes your rank of commanding officer feel pretty hollow. (Of course, on the other hand, building and maintaining a fortress and leading an army isn't exactly cheap. You pay for a lot of stuff here using Garrison Resources, so it's likely that the Gold is being paid to a supplier, with them as intermediaries.) Lampshaded in Lawrence of Aragon after leaving an item shop in the starting town. Lawrence: No matter what you do for the people, they're never grateful enough to offer a discount. A voluntary example in Rabi-Ribi: shopkeeper Miriam is willing to offer her wares to protagonist Erina at no cost, as Miriam is friends with Erina's master Rumi, but Erina insists on paying like everyone else. Valkyria Chronicles has a variation. Instead of buying better equipment for Squad 7, you pay the R&D fees to develop better equipment, which is then issued to them for no further charge. Let's not ask why one militia squad seems to be directing the entire R&D effort of the nation of Gallia. In Fate/Grand Order, even though the shopkeeper and the protagonist are friends, members of the same organization, and trying to save the world after it's already been destroyed, she still used to raise the price on you for every single goddamn copy of her painting that you bought. (The price was eventually lowered and players got a refund if they'd bought it at the original extortionate prices, though.) Web Animation The Final Fantasy example is parodied in the flash animation "Awesome Tribute" by Ricepirate. Web Comics Gold Coin Comics points this out in one strip, where the shopkeeper explains the reasons behind those high prices. The Order of the Stick: Townsfolk increase prices for adventurers, knowing that they're flush with loot from nearby dungeons. This is a Lampshade Hanging of the fact that the prices in most D&D books don't fit the amount non-adventurers make your average townsperson gets a gold piece a month, so if they broke their pickaxe would have to save up three months wages for a new one. In a background gag at the beginning of this strip, an apprentice gets a bargain on some rubies, but her boss tells her to buy more to bring the cost up to the amount specified in the spell. Invoked by the crew of the Mechane, who don't care a whit for adventurers' noble quests beyond the payout. "Ugh, it's just another apocalypse-of-the-week situation. Good triumphs over Evil and Neutral gets the bill." In Anti Hero For Hire, there is constant concern over the cost of specialty ammunition outweighing rewards. He eats a lot of ramen. Freefall: Sam tries to get a discount on a bus ride when saving the planet, but to no avail. A robot is more successful. Until accused of shoplifting. In Homestuck, John, even though he's the legendary hero of the Land of Wind and Shade, and has proven this time and time again, can only buy Fraymotifs at astronomically exorbitant prices, even though he saved all of the salamanders' lives. This is probably justified, because a) the salamanders (being constructs of the Session) are bound to the SBURB mechanics and thus have no choice in the matter and b) Fraymotifs are supposed to be endgame-level powers, so the ludicrous prices ensure you don't get them too early and further break the game. Web Original The Legend of Neil takes this trope to a new level. Not only will the shopkeeper not give Link/Neil a discount, but he tries to cheat him, swindle him of more money than he has and then kill him. Yahtzee of Zero Punctuation made fun of such RPG shopkeeper behavior, in the Torchlight review: Yahtzee: I have a lot of respect for the fantasy peasant village economic model. It seems those guys have a good scam going. You just accidentally build your village in walking distance of the local gnoll camp, or near a dragon cave, or directly on top of a gateway to hell, build a big fat checkpoint in the village center and keep giving birth to potential kidnap-victims, and your shopkeeper, your blacksmith, your tailor and your inkeeper, they'll all be set for fucking life. The reason shopkeepers won't give you a discount when you claim to be saving the world is probably that they've already heard it a dozen times, as seen on Not Always Right. Western Animation Frequently averted in Avatar: The Last Airbender as people will often just GIVE the group supplies (at least in the first season when they weren't really trying to hide the fact that Aang is the Avatar most of the time). Spongebob Squarepants: Masked superheroes Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy are frequent patrons of the Krusty Krab, but they have to pay full price just like everyone else. Barnacle Boy attempts to ask for a "living legend discount", to no avail. The Spongebob Squarepants Movie has Mr Krabs hastily try to up the prices of everything when King Neptune arrives. As seen on Cyberchase in the episode The Snelfu Snafu: Part 2 when the Cybermates had to pay full price for parts to locate the Encryptor Chip. In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Fluttershy not only doesn't get a discount but is actually overcharged for produce because the store owner is an asshole, and Twilight Sparkle is unable to hail a cab in Manehattan. Keep in mind both of these folks have saved the world several times over, are national heroes, and the latter is royalty. Zigzagged in an episode of Filmation's Ghostbusters. To combat a dragon that's melting the polar caps and causing global flooding, the heroes have to fly back to civilization and get an industrial-strength fire extinguisher. The merchant doesn't demand payment on the spot (he expresses concern over the flooding himself), but does say he'll mail them the bill. Real Life Often, the person behind the counter is not the decision-maker who has the ability to grant you a discount. Giving you free things is essentially stealing from their employer. The reason that many veterans hate the Red Cross is that they charged soldiers for doughnuts during World War II. They also charged for shaving kits in the Korean War. Without telling the troops about the charge, or that accepting it was optional. This is also an example of General Failure. The Brass told the Red Cross to charge the soldiers as our allies weren't getting that for free so neither should our soldiers. The reason for that is the American Red Cross had a lot more resources than the other Red Cross as it was from a country not being bombed. Members of the Canadian Armed Forces get absolutely soaked when paying Rations and Quarters, their equivalent of Room and Board when staying in shacks and eating at the mess hall. Paying for the shacks itself it not too expensive, ranging from a meager $70 to $100 a month, but a soldier is also forced to pay an additional $350 to $450 a month to eat at the mess hall. Yes this is mandatory; you cannot live in the shacks without paying to eat at the mess hall as well. Ask any Canadian soldier how they feel about this if you have a good half hour to kill.Please do not change or remove without starting a new thread. And that's why he says "What're ya buyin?", not "What're ya havin?" Wakka: We gotta pay?! If we lose, you'll die too, buddy! Rin: I have faith in your victory. Wakka: Gee, thanks! Aboard the Fahrenheit, Final Fantasy X So you're the plucky group of young heroes out to defeat the Evil Overlord and bring peace back to the world. You'd think that means that shopkeepers might give you discounts or even free items after all, you're protecting them and ensuring they'll still have not only their shops but also their businesses in the future. And, y'know, their lives . But nope. You still pay full price, same as everybody else. Even for more localized examples, where you'd think it'd be more personal: You've driven all the local bandits out of the peaceful hamlet and put their mob's leader to the sword, and even the shopkeepers will actively thank you for saving the place, but they still charge you full price. (Ironically, this often turns up in a story where the good guys tend to get Hero Insurance all the time.) Happens especially in web-based Flash Games: You may be the chosen one, they may plead with you to save their village/island/country/world from destruction, but unless you rustle up an incredible amount of money (from behind the Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence maybe?), you'll never get the best armor and weapons that you would need to do it with. See also Adam Smith Hates Your Guts , which is where shop prices steadily rise regardless of how much sense this makes, and Karl Marx Hates Your Guts , where prices stay the same, again, regardless of logic. Also, see Dude, Where's My Respect? . May tempt some into trying to get a Ballistic Discount or a Five-Finger Discount . This is averted with Hospitality for Heroes and Discount Card . Examples: open/close all folders Anime & Manga The Daichis: Earth's Defense Family are enlisted to protect the world from danger, and given all sorts of cool weapons to do it with. But they have to pay each time they use them. And the cost of using their weapons is usually much more than the reward. And they weren't warned about this ahead of time. Also happens in most any bounty hunter anime, from Cowboy Bebop to Gunsmith Cats. You break it, you bought it. Used mostly as an excuse to keep the heroes working by remaining in debt for the period of the show and sometimes past the ending as well. Inverted in the Time Bokan Royal Revival OVA where the Gatchaman team walks into a noodle shop owned by Boyacky, make an order, eat it, and then not pay. When Boyacky asks for 380 yen(about 3 bucks), they just stare at him, while slurping up the last noodle, and walk out. Superheroes never pay! Comic Books Marvel's Alias featured Jessica Jones complaining that she still had to pay for a pack of cigarettes after saving the shopkeeper from a robbery. Similar to the above, a story in Spider-Man Unlimited featured the titular webslinger stopping by a take out restaurant while in costume, where he watched the store owner give a pair of cops their meal for free. After asking if there was a discount for being a member of the Avengers he was informed that for him, everything on the menu was full price. Fan Works In The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World, the four are appalled that a wizard charged them 40,000 Swords to answer a few questions and wanted a cool half million to help Ringo find his mask-breaking amulet. After all, the world may end in a year; isn't it time to quit worrying about making a buck? Literature Older Than Steam: At chapter XVI, the Innkeeper asks Don Quixote for his pay. Don Quixote answers him that There Should Be a Law that forces Hospitality for Heroes on Knights Errant like himself: "I have little to do with that," replied the innkeeper; "pay me what you owe me, and let us have no more talk of chivalry, for all I care about is to get my money." Subverted in Three Hearts and Three Lions. It appears that one character is going to charge for his services to the hero, even though he knows full well the hero probably going to be in a major battle to save the world soon. But before he can, another character guilts him out of it. Subverted in the BattleTech novel Hearts of Chaos. An invasion force is dropping from the sky, and a handful of mercenaries caught away from their 'Mechs are looking for a quick Five-Finger Discount in a gun shop they've run across to help fight it off. Does the owner who catches them in the act argue? Yes, briefly but then he does allow himself to be talked into letting them arm themselves to their hearts' content, mostly on the grounds that if the invaders win they'll likely confiscate his property anyway. In the novelization of Revenge of the Sith, averted by Obi-Wan via Jedi Mind Trick. He takes Boga the dragonmount without paying, but apologizes to the dragon-wrangler (who can't understand Basic anyway), pointing out that it's for the purpose of saving the planet Utapau. Live-Action TV In the iZombie episode "Dead Beat", Liv, seeking to prevent Major from turning into a zombie in the city lockup after he's arrested for the Chaos Killer murders, tries to buy brains from the brain dealer Don E. due to her brain supply in the morgue being cut off. Don E. will not budge on the price even after Liv tells him that if she doesn't get the brains, it will cause a Zombie Apocalypse, telling her that the threat of that happening is simply "leverage" and more reason to pay up. Jessica Jones (2015): The season 2 finale sees Jessica stop an armed robbery at the liquor store where she shops for booze, but she doesn't earn a free bottle as a result. Tabletop Games How much this trope applies in Tabletop RPGs tends to fall squarely on the shoulders of the Game Master. By default, in games that feature them price lists for equipment, services, magic items, physical spell components and so on will be fairly standardized for convenience if a longsword costs 10 gold pieces, it costs that everywhere unless the GM specifically says otherwise. (Magic in particular often has the excuse that there's not really anyone to negotiate discounts with. If casting a particular spell requires a ruby of a size and quality normally worth 500 gold pieces, then in a "realistic" economy the actual ruby in question might well cost the caster more or less in terms of raw money depending on circumstances... but they can't just use a "lesser" substitute.) The above clearly talks about Dungeons & Dragons and spin-off Pathfinder. Other games play this trope in different ways - often by making it so you aren't known or special as a hero. In The World of Darkness, you aren't the chosen heroes. Set in Urban Fantasy with The Masquerade hiding the supernatural from Muggles, characters are generally free to invest points in character creation into wealth. Doing so simply means you have a bank account and possessions - and are generally subject to the same market forces as everyone else. Additionally, magic generally isn't for sale - well, not for cash. So just because you're a vampire or a mage doesn't mean your landlord is going to suddenly charge less rent - well, until you mind control him, anyway. Shadow Run, as a game of Cyber Punk Urban Fantasy, does things similarly to World of Darkness, though as a shadowrunner (an elite mercenary doing some quite shady and deniable covert ops for the mega-corps), you aren't buying the same things as the normal people in the world. Paranoia plays with this trope; Player Characters are often given elite, unreliable, possibly explosive gear no one should have. They're tasked with testing it on mission and are responsible for returning it safely. This can even be as ridiculous as being required to test a nuclear grenade with a three hundred yard radius and bring the grenade back intact. It helps that Paranoia is a darkly satirical send-up of RPGS and dystopian fiction. Star Wars Edge Of The Empire makes a mechanic of this trope; the GM has means of invoking your various debts and using them to push you down the plot. Dark Heresy takes this trope into With This Herring territory; you can be an agent of the Inquisition scrounging for the cheapest weapons in the Imperium. Remember, the Inquisition has life-or-death authority over almost anyone in the Imperium. Continuum averts this trope. Since the characters are time travelers, it's assumed they are all very wealthy. The Continuum - the main faction of time travelers, assumes you would use time travel to get whatever you need, including money, so they make allowances. Likewise, you can pull the trick seen in Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey and simply make equipment appear what you need - by accepting an obligation to in your future take the time to set up the thing you need where you need it. So the protagonists literally can have nearly anything they need whenever they need it. The same applies to skills, with one example mentioning a character finding themselves on a crashing hovercraft, hopping back in time, working to set up a chance to learn to pilot hovercraft, learning those lessons, then jumping back to the time of the crash and saving the day. Rogue Trader averts it, hard. The question isn't "Can we afford that gear?" It's more like, "Can we equip those ten thousand soldiers with that gear?" The answer is usually, "Take it out of petty cash." Video Games The Legend of Zelda Not only will shops always charge you full price, but given how this game averts Wallet of Holding and yet combines Money for Nothing and Cash Gates for the shop's best items, you're often dealing with shopkeepers who sell items at such prices that you need a legendary wallet, fabled in song and story, just to carry the rupees needed to buy their wares. The Wind Waker takes this Up to Eleven with Bomb-Master Cannon, who sells his bombs for prices several orders of magnitude above what you can possibly carry. This isn't intended as a Cash Gate, but as a Broken Bridge, and bombs can be bought for normal prices after the pirates rob the merchant of his bombs as part of the story. Prior to that, the merchant seems mighty pleased with his greedy exploitation of his monopoly, seemingly forgetting that, monopoly or not, he's not making money: no one can buy his wares because they cost more than the combined wealth of the world. In the same game, Tingle charges 398 Rupees to decipher each of eight maps needed to find the pieces of the Triforce. You have to get the first wallet upgrade to even pay this.HoweverIn the HD remake, the base wallet amount is upped to 500 Rupees, so you don't need the first upgrade to be able to decipher the charts. Luckily, you can hold up to 5000 Rupees after finding both wallet upgrades, a big jump from previous Zelda games. In Skyward Sword, despite everyone in Skyloft knowing that you're saving Zelda (or at least that you're on a VERY important mission) you have to buy your potion, your equipment, and pay for its upgrades. Lampshaded in Albert Odyssey: Legend of Eldean, where the shopkeeper who follows you to the Very Definitely Final Dungeon justifies herself saying that she not only trusts your ability to defeat the bad guy, but if you should fail, the money wouldn't matter anyway. Alundra eventually averts this, once the entire village puts their trust in you to save them, you can take healing items from the shop for free. Avoided for the very last mission in Archimedean Dynasty, where the fate of humanity hangs in the balance (but what's new?). Even the most expensive and most powerful cannon is offered for a pittance. Baldur's Gate zig-zags this trope. If you perform enough heroic acts and get your reputation high enough, shop prices start going down (to a maximum of 50% at 20 reputation) as the shopkeepers realize you're probably going to use the ludicrously expensive items for a good purpose (on the opposite side, being evil makes store prices higher). You still sell items for less than a fraction of what they're being sold for, and nobody ever just gives you items no matter your need. This creates a few plots holes, such as Drow (evil underground elf) merchants giving you lower prices based on your heroic deeds on the surface, as well as having to buy items from a priest in an elven city you're currently saving from an Evil Sorcerer. Averted in Brave Soul with Coolbough and his associates (the Innkeepers). Though they don't let you stay in their inn for free because you're going to save the world at some point, but because the Hero's father saved Coolbough's life. Castlevania In Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, the monk, Vincent, will sell you various supplies. During a plot event, he'll be bitten by a vampire, and he'll run back in asking you to heal him. When entering his shop menu, he usually says "I'll make you a deal!", but when he's sick, he literally says "I'll lower the price... I'll lower the price!" However, he doesn't, and after you heal him, your characters ask him if he will lower the priceto which he responds that he's gotta make a living. Bummer. Justified in Castlevania 64 where the shopkeeper is a contract that you made with the demon Renon, who couldn't care less about saving the world from vampires (he even remarks that the "end of the world is a fantastic business opportunity for him" during your last meeting). Of course, we all know how well deals like that go... Also justified in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. The Librarian is actually in the employ of Dracula, and only helps Alucard at all as he's a greedy bastard. And if you use any of the extra characters, he'll refuse to deal with them at all; Alucard is permissible because he's the Master's son, estranged or not, but dealing with the Belmonts would be outright treason. Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia lampshades, justifies and subverts it. As much as Jacob the shop owner would like to give Shanoa what she needs for free, he still has to make a living, and considering the village is in the middle of nowhere with Shanoa being one of his only customers in a time of great unrest due to Dracula's imminent return, he can't afford to give her stuff for free. He does, however, give her a Discount Card after she purchases enough stuff in his shop. In Chrono Trigger, you can rescue a falsely imprisoned shop clerk from a dungeon. When you visit the shop later, the clerk will slip you some free potions when the shopkeeper isn't looking. There is also the island in 1000 AD where, at first, the Mystics running the shops hate humans and charge far more than the asking price for items and weapons. However, completing a sidequest in 600 AD will improve the Mystics' attitude about humans, and the shops will now give a discount instead. Which, sadly, means next to nothing, as you'll likely have vastly superior equipment by then anyway. However, if you can somehow grind up all the cash you need on the early visits, you'll likely be set in the way of equipment until somewhere around the Ocean Palace. Played straight throughout most of Clash at Demonhead, which sells a rotating stock of items to your character every time he uses the Shop Call or goes to the ocean on Route 5. However, once he visits the shop 30 times, the shopkeeper makes all of his items available to the hero at half price. The Command & Conquer series often has opposing forces mining resources on the front lines of battle, with commanders more often than not conducting battle with minimal support from their factions. Zig-zagged in Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars. Fort City doesn't charge the teenage protagonists for equipment... but it does require them to cash in Glow Points. GP are a merit system, earned by fighting monsters - and real, potentially lethal monsters at that, training in the simulator doesn't count. When one character asks why they're not being given this equipment for free, he's promptly told "nothing good ever comes when man's grasp exceeds his reach" - the war effort is half-run by the Church, who firmly believes man's pride has caused the current crisis. That said, the other half of the effort, AngelMarker R&D, is only too eager to provide experimental but crucial equipment like Wake's Ether Amp of the heroines' Dusk Breakers for free. All of this becomes a plot point when it turns out the CEO of AngelMarker is stonewalling attempts to end the war permanently so he can continue profiteering from the research funding the church is giving them. Averted in Dark Cloud, where the Wise Owl will sell you a special sword for a discount. It's still pretty high but as he (along with some other merchants in the game) will tell you, they are still merchants and need to make a living. The weapon and item shops in Demon Gaze not giving you discounts is one thing, since you're just another mercenary to them. Fran, on the other hand, in depending on you doing jobs only the Gazer can do, but will not discount you a cent. Booking more rooms so you can take more party members? Be prepared to cough up a cool 1000G (and Lorna had to cover the first one just so you wouldn't be flying solo). Fail to pay room and board the moment you step in the door after another life-threatening dungeon dive? She'll blacklist you from all but the most essential services until you settle. When Lancelorna warns you that money is Serious Business to Fran, she's not kidding. "Smuggler" in Deus Ex won't give you explosives unless you pay an absurd amount of money for them, even if you've helped him out before, and even though he knows you need them to blow up a superfreighter full of enough of an incurable virus to infect the entire North American continent!. The exception is the first time you're in Hell's Kitchen, where he gives you a discount if you rescue his friend from MJ12. Furthermore, those characters who suggest you ask someone else for needed items and information - and who are fully aware of the importance of you getting them - can't be bothered to so much as loan you the necessary credits. Occasionally, some of your allies will give you items for free. Other characters will offer you a discount on items for sale in exchange for completing a side quest. In Deus Ex: Human Revolution, despite your boss spending what must have been an absolute fortune to turn the PC who is the head of security into an augmented super soldier, you still need to pay for your own augmentation upgrades. And weapons. And ammo. And information. Considering you are trying to track down a mercenary group that killed half a dozen scientists and are planning some kind of conspiracy that would dramatically change the outlook of the company, you really should have a platinum company credit card that makes credits meaningless. There's also a LIMB clinic office on Panchaea, where the shop keeper has barricaded herself against the crazed augs. She mentions that she'd like to give you a discount but the whole thing is based off a computer she can't change, so you're still charged full price for medicine, Typhoon ammo, and upgrade kits. Averted in the case of Seurat, an arms dealer in Detroit. If you rescued Greg and Josie Thorpe during the factory mission, he will give you "the egghead discount" any time you visit him for the rest of the game. In The Missing Link, Quinn (the only merchant) defends charging you for goods by reminding Jensen that he's a fugitive in the facility they're both in, so he's taking a tremendous risk doing business with him. However, if you saved a person earlier, he does give you a discount. In general you're presumably on an expense account, with the plot is over before you can file the associated report and be reimbursed. For the really expensive stuff (such as getting access to Heng Sha) your company does provide, which turns out to be a whole new problem - and makes the advantages of using money and equipment which can't be traced to your employer clear. Diablo II has Tyrael, who charges up to 50,000 gold to resurrect your mercenary companion. He's an angel! What's he going to do with the money? Build ornate churches? In regard to the Merchants of Light accompanying Tyrael, additional information at Battle.net gives a reason for why they charge you for weapons and armor despite being at Hell's doorstep. Like Tyrael, they are forbidden to help you directly. Selling and buying equipment is a way for them to work around it, because it qualifies as indirect help at best. From the game's Web site: In Act IV, Tyrael will resurrect your Hireling but he will charge you. What does he do with that gold? Angels got to pay the bills too. Partially averted in Act 2 where, as a reward for defeating Radamant and avenging her family's death, the owner of the local tavern convinces the rest of the merchants to give you a discount on all wares. A discount, mind you, not free goods. Larzuk seems to be aware of this trope in Lord of Destruction, saying that your gold isn't lining his pockets; it's paying for the armour, weapons and medical supplies of a city that is under siege by the forces of Hell. The first Diablo game averts this trope to a degree, on the fact that nobody is expecting you to succeed. If the merchants gave free goods to every would be hero that tried to save the world, they'd have gone broke long before you showed up. This logic begins to fade after you've gone far past what anybody else has accomplished, and everybody starts believing that you are the real deal, but still charge you full price. Sometimes, merchants will give you a discount as a quest reward. Not that it really matters. Played with in Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories, as your character racks up FELONIES (i.e. become more of a "villain"), the shop prices go down and you sell items back at closer to their shop price. Have enough felonies, and you're actually selling items back for more than you paid for them. Of course, that's not really an option until New Game+ unless you spend huge amounts of time Level Grinding. In Dragon Age: Origins, some folks will offer a discount...but the prices stay the same. The only time this is averted is with one merchant in Denerim, and then only if you played a certain origin story. Oh it's far worse than that, your camp merchant will promise you a discount, but is actually one of the worst merchants in the game! He buys lower than average and sells higher. The worst part? He's right there in your camp, so invariably you'll sell him most of your loot for convenience's sake! Somewhat-mocked in Dragon Quest IX, where after you save Batsureg, the shopkeepers declare that all their wares are yours...but of course you are such a hero that you will still compensate them. Lampshaded just before the last stage of Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms: Baldurs Gate: Dark Alliance II where the eponymous city is overrun by the undead, and only a makeshift barricade stands between the shopkeeper and a horde of zombies, and the city's Only Hope is for you to storm the villain's citadel. If you complain about the shopkeeper still charging you full price, he points out that he's confident of your success, but if he gave away his goods where would he be after you save the city. Furthermore, you can afford it, so it isn't like he's jeopardizing the city's safety by refusing to just give the items away. Lampshaded and justified in Evil Islands. In one instance your base of operations is a village where you are praised as The Chosen One, but the village merchant is such an infamously stingy bastard he explicitly warns you right away that he will still charge you with all your purchases. Later all the village money happens to be stolen and he once again clearly refuses to supply the village guards with weapons for free... because they didn't stand for him against brigands. Another time you join some rebels and obtain all the gear from their blacksmith. He actually apologizes for his shameless prices and explains that he has to smuggle the weapons and bribe the officials of the Evil Empire. However, at the very end of the game, it's subverted; the very last 'merchant' you meet before the final battle will give you anything he has in stock and perform all services for free. He also fights on your side in the final battle, so he has plenty of incentive to make sure you're as tough as can be. Zigzagged in MapleStory; while you don't get discounts for your heroics, one benefit to belonging to a Guild is that they grant merchant discounts depending on their game ranking. The bigger the guild and the most high-Level players in said guild, the better the discount. Thus, a guild full of heroic players will indeed get a Hero Discount, but this is rendered void if you leave it. In Exit Fate, it's possible to recruit a few people to your army who then set up shops in your castle. Even though they're working for you, they still charge the same prices as every other shopkeeper in the game. In Fallout 3, being nice to the ghoul bartender gets you a discount on anything he sells, but others are fairly unfriendly towards you, even after you repeatedly save their collective asses. In Rivet City, there's an unmarked quest involving a city council member and a fellow merchant who accuses him of stealing his council seat. Completing the quest in favor of one will get you a discount from them, but cause the other to raise their prices. This is lampshaded in the Mothership Zeta DLC, when Somah charges you money to repair your equipment despite the two of you having been kidnapped by aliens and fighting for your lives to escape. Somah points out that even if you both do escape, she's as good as dead anyway if she doesn't have any money to survive on in the Wasteland. Fallout: New Vegas averts this with the addition of faction reputations, as you get a discount from merchants who are associated with a faction that likes you. This mechanic highlights other vendors apparent lack of gratitude though, a particularly notable example is Old Lady Gibson, who runs the junkyard just outside Novac. Despite being tied to Novac and its economy, she isn't marked as being part of the town and won't give you any discounts when you restore the town's salvage industry by clearing out the Repconn test site during the Come Fly With Me quest, even though she explains she gets all her junk from Repconn. She will even charge you five hundred caps for a MacGuffin critical to completing said quest, which is a lot for low level characters. She is tied for first with the Gun Runners for being the richest vendor in the game, so its hard to ignore her if you want to sell all your Vendor Trash. The bartender in Goodsprings will give you a discount if you drive away the attack by the Powder Gangers "on account of what you done for us." Cost for repairing items is also completely unaffected by discounts or Barter skill. The Great Khan armory merchant sells at price if you're liked by them. No discount - base price, whether you're buying or selling. This makes her an excellent choice for unloading expensive stuff, since you can trade in for ammunition and other cheap stuff without suffering price attrition. Fallout 4 zigzags on this trope. There are a few vendors who will give you very good prices based on your affiliations. For example, Tinker Tom will only sell to you if you're a member of the Railroad, but he offers excellent prices because he's also a member of the Railroad and trying to help you out. Unfortunately, he's got rather limited selection. Other vendors won't give you that great of discounts, even shops you've built yourself at your settlements (though the fact that you get a cut of the profits does help offset this). The Final Fantasy series is quite fond of this trope. Final Fantasy V sort of subverts this by having the shopkeeper in Bartz's home town give a discount (which is very appreciated when the single revival item in the game costs 1000 gold), but only because it's Bartz's hometown, not because he's a hero. Final Fantasy VI subverts it at Figaro Castle, where the shopkeepers will refuse to charge Edgar (the king) or Sabin (his brother). However, both characters insist on paying, pointing out that the shopkeepers still have to earn a living. (If Edgar is your party leader, they still give you a 50% discount, though.) Final Fantasy VIII contains one exception. If you return to Timber after you're finished there in the main story, you can save a little girl from getting run over by a train, and it earns you a free night at the inn. Played straight for everything else. How much for a train ticket? Lampshaded in Final Fantasy X right before the battle with That One Boss, Evrae, which also leads almost directly to a whole gauntlet run of bosses, Rin will still charge you exorbitant prices. When asked why, when you could all die, he replies: Rin: I have faith in your victory. Also, the shopkeeper O'aka actually would give you a discount, but in his case only if you had donated a large sum of money to him when he was struggling to get his business off the ground. Otherwise, he charges almost double what any other shop would. In Final Fantasy X-2, O'aka is so in debt to the Al Bhed that he's willing to avert this trope and give you a discount just so he can pay his debt off. In fact, if you help him clear out his entire debt, he'll be so thankful that he'll sell you his stock at a 90% discount. While less related to the economy, in Final Fantasy X random people would give you items if you talked to them (this happens much less frequently after you defeat Seymour for the first time, as most of Spira brands your party as traitors), considering you're a summoner and her guardians. It made the stinginess of the shopkeepers more noticeable. Handwaved in Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings, where the only vendor in the game actually works for you, purchasing equipment while you're off adventuring. One NPC in the ship points out he must be losing quite the amount of money, as Tomah sells said equipment at only a fraction of the original price. Averted in Final Fantasy XIII, where all transactions are done via the internet, so vendors are not aware of your status as heroes, but even then as you're characterised as villains for the entirety of the plot, even if they knew your identity, they'd probably not want to sell to you, let alone give a discount. Another aversion is that the Fal'Cie control all technology, and are revealed late in the game to be secretly manipulating you in your quest to destroy them (which they desire) but are prevented in their programming from aiding you directly (by lowering prices, presumably). One late game vendor has a message from the Fal'Cie wishing you luck, though! Before the final boss battle in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, one of Lightning's friends will sell her recovery items and spell synthesis at standard prices. What is he going to do with the money? It's the end of the world, and he won't have to repay his suppliers. Watts from Final Fantasy Adventure distills this trope to its essence. He accompanies you through a dungeon to get some silver he needs. Despite the fact that you're accompanying him on his quest so that he can get what he needs without dying, he still charges you full price for more items in the middle of said dungeon. It gets worse. After you finish the dungeon and Watts gets the silver, he goes back to the Dwarf Cave to forge equipment with it. Does he give you any for free? Of course not, he charges you full price for the sword and armor. You even have to get the silver helmet from a different shop. Fire Emblem can get rather silly about this. Radiant Dawn is especially bad near the end. All of humanity is frozen in stone by an evil god. The only people still alive are your party, the enemies (brought back to life by the god to stop you) and a group of merchants following you. They STILL don't offer you a discount. The kicker? In a few cutscenes, they outright give you the Infinity+1 Spellbooks they found lying around for free BECAUSE you're the last people alive and you're the only hope for everyone. Not the most consistent of merchants, these guys. It gets even sillier when you realize that they DID give your army a discount for one chapter earlier in the game, before everyone was turned to stone. Why they didn't think to do so again is anyone's guess. Exacerbated in Fates where members of your own army are running the shops in My Castle yet still won't give Corrin the stuff for free. However, discounts depends on the current keeper. Completely averted in Freelancer, once you encounter the Order. They give you the best ship in the game at that point for 1100 credits, when other ships are in the hundreds of thousands. Unfortunately, when time comes to trade that ship in to the next best one, you'll notice you can't sell it for a normal ship's price either. In Dead Island, most of the survivor base areas have vendors who will sell you equipment. Despite the fact that the island has been overrun with zombies (thus making money useless), you constantly perform missions to help them, and the fact that they face certain death if you are killed, the vendors still insist on charging you money for their items In the Harvest Moon series, most of the marriageable bachelors and bachelorettes work in the area's shops, which are usually owned by their families. You won't get any kind of discount from their family's store if you marry one of them, even if your spouse is the one running the store. This may be so that people would marry characters they liked, rather than just marrying the person that gives them the biggest discounts. It makes little sense in universe, but a lot of sense when you consider the implications of marrying someone for free cake at the bakery. Averted, however, in one of its spin-off series, Rune Factory, you may get free fortune-telling or free bathing from your wife. Not that much, though. In the sequels, your spouse will cook you a free meal every day, and her charging you for goods and services is justified in that they still have to help their own family. Somewhat lampshaded in Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure. After beating the final boss, Henry ponders the fact that all the money that he paid Cole went to the Humongous Mecha which Cole just tried to use to kill Henry. Just Cause 2: The Sloth Demon will make you pay a ton of money for anything (except transportation), even after you find out he's Tom Sheldon in disguise. Granted, Panau is a dictatorship and its money is worth less than crap (Rico says himself that putting a bullet in the head of a guy to obtain some info would be more expensive than greasing his palm with a handful of banknotes), but come on, 20 grand for a pistol? Kingdom Hearts: In Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II, Huey, Dewey and Louie don't give a damn that their uncle is buying and saving the world as we know it, as long as he keeps on coughing up the munny. They even say in the original that Donald gets "No family discounts!" In 358/2 Days, the Organization Moogle admits that you're the only one who will buy his wares. In fact, he follows you when you run away just so he can continue to charge you. Still, he's useful before that final battle... Kingdom of Loathing: The Lunar Lunch-O-Mat owner from gives you a mere 25% discount for being "the savior of [his] entire species," but it's sort of meaningless because you can't even visit the store until you've saved his entire species. Plus, the undiscounted prices would be things like 133 and one-third isotopes, and since you can't have a fraction of an isotope, he's probably lying about the discount. Or it's, you know, a joke. After you rescue Big Brother Sea Monkee from the digestive tract of a carnivorous sea-plant, he still charges full price for everything in his store. Well, almost. He gives you a magic air-producing rock for free because he thinks it's worthless, and he refunds your payment for a spooky black lens because he hates it and never wants to see it again. The expensive maps are especially silly, since Little Brother gives you some of them for free. Justified in Lands of Lore: The Throne of Chaos, in which the player starts with a writ identifying him as on official business for the king, which can be presented for free services. However, the writ is stolen, leaving him with no proof that he works for the king and justifying why he must pay for things like everyone else. In Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals, Tia refuses to give Maxim and the party a discount at her shop, even while she's a party member (she'll leave the party temporarily to run behind the counter, and rejoin once you leave). Her justification is that her shop is doing poorly, which is no surprise given that she's off adventuring with you instead of running her shop. In Lunar: The Silver Star and its remakes, your old childhood buddy Ramus takes over a shop in Meribia. He initially charges you full price because he's still trying to establish his business, but just before the final battle with the fate of the entire world at stake, he gives you unlimited free items from his store to help out. This ends up being a good PR move, as after you do save the world, word gets around about him helping the Dragonmaster and he brings in more business than ever. In both Makai Kingdom and Phantom Brave, you can have a merchant job class in your party; the higher level the merchant, the better stuff they sell (and possibly at lower prices). Said merchants still need to get stuff from somewhere (some kind of off-screen third party provider, possibly), so they still need money to pay for it. In Mario & Luigi, shopkeepers are willing to give the Brothers a discount if they have good-looking mustaches (or in Bowser's case in the third game, if he has good-looking horns). Super Mario RPG: In the final dungeon, just before the entrance to the final boss battle against Smithy, The Toad as in Peach's assistant, sets up the area with a save block. He also sets up shop to sell you items like mushrooms and revival potions. Note that this Toad is on your side and the fate of the world hangs in the balance on this next fight. Guess the economy's more important than that. Although he does sell them at half price. It gets weird when storming Bowser's Castle in the endgame, where Kamek will still sell Bowser and the others end-game equipment, and to help them afford the prices conjures a block that never runs out of coins, but only gives them one at a time, making it so that you have to strike it over a thousand times to buy everything. And you can carry at most 999 coins, so even if you came prepared you'll still have to jump quite a while. Before that, Hinopio charges positively extraordinary prices for the luxury of sleeping on a pile of wooden crates. In a volcano. This gets lampshaded in the official strategy guide. (It helps that Hinopio is the only game in the volcano. It also makes for a great Crowning Moment of Funny when Mario awakens face-down on the very uncomfortable-looking crates.) Absent in the original Paper Mario , where the Toad Houses are free of charge. It is hinted somewhere in the game it's because they're owned by the Mushroom Kingdom and thus are a public service and not a private one like in every other RPG. Super Paper Mario You're saving the universe, and you still have to pay for every single thing including Inns, items, and even fortune telling on which places you're supposed to be. How about the fact that Mario was the legendary hero to save the universe foretold 1000 years ago? And of course the things you buy are twice as costly as when you sell them. Bestovius makes reference to this trope, telling Mario that he will not teach him how to flip dimensions for free, and complaining that "heroes always expect everything to be given to them!". It does turn into a subversion if you refuse to pay twice in a row, whereupon he offers to teach it for free just so you can continue on your quest. This goes back to Super Mario Bros. 3 where Toad lets you pick one of three boxes and get whatever item is inside it. Why not just let Mario get the items from all three boxes? Princess Peach can't even catch a break from her own subjects. In Super Princess Peach, Toad is pretty annoyed if she asks for something in his shop and doesn't have enough Coins, and the worst part is, this game has an Adam Smith Hates Your Guts rule in regards to Vibe Tea and Tough Coffee. (Sure, the Mushroom Kingdom is in it's Darkest Hour with both Mario and Luigi being held hostage, but the guy can't fudge the rules for the Princess, right?) (Although Peach can get infinite coins if you know the "trick".) Mass Effect Lampshaded in the first game, where you can yell at the requisitions officer of the Normandy (and pretty much anyone else who sells equipment during moments of emergency) for charging you for equipment. This turns out to be a justified case, however: the requisitions officer is actually obtaining you items that are not N7 standard issue out of his own pocket. He explains that each time ship docks he sells and buys weapons on his own expense and the more licenses and more money he has, the better he can supply you with. It's also completely justified during one mission; You can berate a shopkeeper about not giving you stuff, but he ALREADY gave a bunch of stuff to the paid security forces that had been protecting him and various others before you arrived, and he has no way of knowing how helpful you'll be anyway. Averted in the sequel. You can get a discount at every shop, either by Charm/Intimidate dialogue or by completing a Side Quest. It's also lampshaded in this game by Mordin, a former salarian Special Task Group member who - comparing the STGs to the Spectres - comments that they're quite similar, but better-funded and not generally expected to buy their own weapons. Mass Effect 3 averts it and plays it straight at different points. You can obtain discounts for certain intel choices, up to 10% off from all stores on the Citadel. On the other hand, you get charged an additional 10% if you buy things through the procurement terminal on the Normandy rather than the shops themselves. Justified in Mega Man (Classic). Yes, it is annoying trying to find those screws, but Dr. Light kind of needs them if he's gonna build your equipment. Mega Man 7 even features a discount system in the form of finding Auto's missing bolt. No, the discount's not out of gratitude, but rather now that he's not impaired (he claims he has "a few screws loose" without it) he can make parts with less supplies as well as a few new ones. Downplayed in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots as the last act offers a 50% off all of the weapons etc. in Drebin's shop. However, this isn't directly related to aiding you on your missions; it's only because business is going bad (The disabling of ID'd guns creating a slump on the 'necessary' war economy) and they need to make sales. In Metro 2033, the only money is bartering with 5.45mm ammo left over from before the apocalypse. The ammo is in perfect condition, and packs more punch than the homemade crap you usually find. Therefore, you must choose between supporting the economy and saving your ass in a firefight. There's even an Achievement (Scrooge) for hoarding 500 Bullets. MMORPGs can take this trope go Up to Eleven. Not only do you not get discounts for saving the town/country/worldnot even if the shopkeeper himself gives you quests for 20 Bear Assesbut your fellow players will often charge ridiculously exorbitant prices for rare items and equipment. Averted in Dungeons & Dragons Online: Certain overworld areas have major quest chains, usually given by an important person from that area, or otherwise about something much more important than some random person's problems. When you finish the major quest chain for an area, all shops in that area will give you a small discount. Also averted in World of Warcraft, where you get discounts by 5% or so for every level of rep you have, up to 20% for exalted; unless you're a goblin and will barter with all the shopkeepers for the maximum discount regardless of reputation. Final Fantasy XI also has NPC shopkeepers give you (small) discounts if you've got a high Fame score. In Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark, you can ask a couple of merchants why you must pay if you are trying to save them all. One says you are "trying"that is, he can't afford to lose money in case you fail, and if it comes to that he plans to run away. The other is a smith and needs gold for his furnace to burn properly. During the climax of Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir, Volo helpfully comes to your party bearing supplies from the stores... that you have to pay for. He justifies it by saying that the merchants he requisitioned the items from expect to be paid for them. The Elder Scrolls: Downplayed in Morrowind and Oblivion. Completing quests for merchants who offer them will increase those merchants' dispositions, which will lead to better prices. The same is also true for completing faction quests and will net you a disposition boost for merchants in that faction. In Morrowind in particular, after completing the main quest, you can mention your status as the world-saving hero in NPC conversations for a guaranteed disposition increase. Despite this, it's still not completely averted since no matter what you do, you'll never get those merchants to give away their stock or even offer you prices below the item's actual value. Similarly Downplayed in Skyrim, where doing favors for merchants (or simply being a regular customer for long enough) can allow you to take the cheap stuff off their shelves for free, when it would otherwise be considered stealing. Ocular Ink A freeware game. Parodied, in which the hero's travel fees are paid for by the government. Justified in kami's very last "shop" in the Ark of Yamato, the place where all the demons and evil spirits have gathered for you to defeat once and for all. You're not really "buying" anything - as Marco the NPC puts it, you are leaving a cash offering for the Celestials, and being rewarded based on however much you leave. The Talan in Outcast believe you're Messianic Archetype, prophecised to save them from tyranny. This doesn't stop a group of identical merchants, all brothers, from selling your own equipment to you and others (as "sacred objects") in an attempt to prove to their father that they can make enough money to inherit the family business. One of the children in Persona 3 was the daughter to a multi-national company. God forbid they spare a couple million yen to help save the world. Justified in that the multinational was doing everything in its power to hide that they caused the problems that she's trying to repair in the first place. Why would they do anything that might give away what they're hiding? Even when she takes it over following her father's murder, she still answers to the stockholders and can't pull any resources out of their grip. (Besides, she talks them into giving you a way to buy weapons in the first place - not to mention putting the Robot Girl on your team, something they could theoretically overrule.) Justified in Quest for Glory series, in which every game takes place in a totally new setting, where your heroism in the previous games is known only to a few people, if any. The second game somewhat averts this trope: the people who you helped in the first game provide you with free room and board at their inn, and the merchants will give you the items you need to subdue the Elementals for free, but only if you ask at the appropriate time (so they won't just hand you over a brass lamp at any random point just because you asked for it, but if there's a fire elemental rampaging and you explain that you need it to capture it, they'll do so). The exception to this is Issur the blacksmith, but then it's well-established that he's a Jerkass. Lampshaded in Ratchet & Clank with this conversation involving
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This article is my attempt at providing a definitive guide to the complex, and so far, self-regulated, landscape of ICOs. Warning: mature content. Just as how in the ancient movie “Eyes Wide Shut” …
This article is my attempt at providing a definitive guide to the complex, and so far, self-regulated, landscape of ICOs. Warning: mature content. Just as how in the ancient movie “Eyes Wide Shut” the password “fidelio” gave access to a very sought-after club, it looks like the magic letters ICO are the key to unlocking a door to a world of highly coveted startup capital. When someone recently asked me if he should raise money for his new pizza restaurant here in Los Angeles via ICO, I figured it was time to write this explanatory piece. ICO stands for Initial Coin Offering – a relatively new fundraising tool that allows some startups to raise capital by issuing and selling to the public their own cryptocurrency, aka digital tokens. Fundamentally, ICOs raise funds in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. It all got started in 2013 thanks to a blockchain protocol, Mastercoin, that quietly staged the very first ICO with a mind-blowing raise of $500,000. But momentum really built in 2016 when we saw 69 startups raising a total of $103 million. Now a further skyrocketing number of gems are emerging this year and the dynamics are promising. As of today, we have over 800 “micro” cryptocurrencies with 8 cryptocurrencies that are worth more than $1 billion. The mainstream media has finally taken notice, highlighting stories like that of Ethereum, raising easily almost $18 million at then bitcoin price and today its market capitalization sits at nearly $24 billion. Meanwhile the DAO (=Decentralized Autonomous Organization), one of the projects using Ethereum, created what is called a Smart Contract – a tool that would allow the funding of projects based on participants voting in a similar way as with a traditional venture capital model (for more on Smart Contracts: read HERE and HERE). When I reached out Smith+Crown, the leading source in reporting and analysis for cryptofinancial markets, I wanted to understand not only the dynamics but also who are the champions. Here you are. Top Five Tokens Sales as of July 11th, 2017* Source: Smith + Crown; amounts rounded to the nearest million In the words of Mark Twain, “whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. “ As I have been a silent observer of what the majority perceived a “mass madness,” calling ICOs names such as “Idiots Constantly Overbuying” seduced by “DNT” (do nothing technology) “launching” some (sarcastic) campaigns like this one, I cannot help but wonder – if it is so good in practice, how is it in theory? How do you stage an ICO? What is the exact algorithm and a legal framework? Who can do it beyond the tech world? How much does it cost? Who on Earth is investing in ICOs and why? Will this tool eventually be able to incentivize truly impactful ventures? In searching for answers, let’s proceed with caution – so far, it’s dark down there. But hey – typically, that’s where the fun is. After studying countless cases (check out ICOs’ trackers HERE and HERE) and brain-damaging papers, I reached out to a mastermind in this emerging world, Brock Pierce – a legendary Chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation and co-founder of Blockchain Capital. I told him I had lost sleep over ICOs, searching for a recipe or magic formula (preferably in a one line description) that can be used by us, simple humans. Brock responded; “Every ICO is unique, there isn’t a template yet so defining them is done on a deal by deal basis”. But – he continued – “ICOs are the future. The IPO and venture capital markets are dead, they don’t realize it yet”. Just as our chat was happening, as fate would have it, the celebrated billionaire and former Bitcoin skeptic Mark Cuban, who just a few weeks ago called Bitcoin a “bubble,” consequently pulling Bitcoin’s price down by 5%, announced that he is now looking to back an ICO for Unikrn – an eSports betting venture. Then you need to add another celebrity-billionaire, a VC by birth and now a TV personality too, Tim Draper, who has announced his participation in the ICO of Tezos, a blockchain platform. And just when you thought there were enough people on the party list, also joining in the fun is Russia – my mother-country and home to a massive number of leading mathematicians, IT scientists and chess players (yes, it was my favorite game too when I was five). Case in point – Russian billionaire Boris Titov and Waves Platform are now working on launching an Initial Coin Offering incubator with Deloitte CIS being on the case too. From what I can observe, Russia is becoming a major player in the cryptofinancing scene. Meanwhile India, the second largest country in the world with a population of 1.3 billion (and counting), recently ruled in favor of regulating Bitcoin and announced it is currently working on those regulations. I bet you realize by now, the trend is international, and something that we should not ignore. To quote Pavel Vrublevsky, head of the Russian payments firm Chronopay; “As soon as I saw that people were raising real money in ICOs I got interested. Make Bitcoin not war”. If this is what it takes to stop wars – I agree. If you are wondering if there is any resemblance between ICO and the similar sounding IPO, here’s a recap that should help you to answer that question. Fundamentally, Initial Public Offering (IPO) is a process undertaken by a private company motivated by two main goals: to raise capital from the general public and to provide liquidity for its existing shareholders – typically angel investors, aka accredited investors with a certain level of wealth and/or reported income as defined by the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC). The “pre-IPO” investors presume that shares of the new born public company can be easily monetized and/or traded among investors on stock exchanges. The median age of companies staged IPOs in 2001-2015 was 10 years plus, according to PWC reports, on average companies incur $3.7 million of costs directly attributable to their IPO. And – we are seeing signs of less optimism looking ahead. *Source: Renaissancecapital.com; data last updated on July 15th, 2017 Initial Coin Offering (ICO), which I suspect sounds very similar to IPO deliberately, can be launched at MUCH earlier stages, typically by startups rooted in blockchain technology that are looking to raise external capital and achieve liquidity as well. (Learn more about blockchain HERE and HERE). But instead of issuing their equity/stocks, they issue their own digital cryptocurrencies, aka “tokens,” that can be bought by the general public with the expectation that the tokens eventually will be listed on cryptocurrency exchanges soon after ICO, therefore brining a liquidity to backers (secondary market). This has earned ICO a few nicknames including “crowdsales” and a Token Distribution Event (TDE) – this last term (which I like the most) I learned from David Orban – a managing partner of Network Society Ventures and a well-known innovator and visionary in the blockchain community. OK, so far so good– after all, if you are a founder and someone who is urgently searching for capital, you might like the fact that you are not selling equities, therefore you are not losing your ownership stake. You might ask though – how come my backers could convert my tokens into money and presumably make some profits? Good question – fair question. In fact – let me add another one. As the question is not only how to convert tokens into money – the question is how they can become money – or a new form of it, to put it less dramatically. You see, back in the 17th century some transactions were conducted with dried corn or beaver pelts but since they were widely accepted, even they would sound like a good deal if you had taken a time machine for an enlightening trip to the past. Never mind gold, which still is widely desirable despite its worth being based purely on people’s perceptions – yes, just like dried corn or beaver pelts were. But I can certainly relate when you wonder what on Earth your backers would need your tokens for. So, this is where there might be our “a-ha!” moment. As you might have noticed, we live in a world of perceptions. I am talking about the financing world too where prices are not equal to marginal opportunity costs, but the perceived one (Austrian school of economics). Or – “the subjective value makes value” in the word of another blockchain genius, philosopher and writer I had a chance to talk to, David Koepsell, the founder of Encrypgen. Evidently, in this age we don’t need any physical commodity to back up our deals and transactions so we are utilizing what is known as “fiat money” – to put it simply, it is a currency that has been created by an act of federal law and declared/recognized by a government as money – medium for exchange, a unit of account and a store of value. Well, by now you might realize that our money, in the traditional sense, has no intrinsic value in itself for whatever but nevertheless is easily convertible into payments for any goods and services. Why? Because our government told us so and if anything – its mission to keep our faith in the nation’s currency as it is the people’s faith what determines the value of money and its ability to pay for things. Yes, just like in the 17th century. How Bitcoin has become the money – well, almost If I did a good job in explaining here a topic which usually requires a dozen lectures, a few books and probably a shot of tequila to understand, you can tell that in order for any currency to be acting like money, then fundamentally there should be two components present: 1) people must have faith in it and therefore will allocate the value needed; 2) a government should accept and declare it to be a legal tender (i.e., fiat currency) This is when you might want to start educating yourself on “Bitcoin” – the very first cryptocurrency which hit the Internet community eight years ago as the original enactment of blockchain. (To educate yourself more on bitcoin: read HERE, HERE and HERE). The project quickly became a massive social movement and, unless you have been in a coma for the past few years – or, well drank too much tequila (hey, don’t blame it on me) you must have heard Bitcoin declared to be the new gold. It’s a “digital gold” that, thanks to blockchain technology, has brought the concept of decentralized digital money to life with a promise to eventually free us all from the chains of the existing financial world ruled by government. Earlier this year, a single bitcoin, which is basically a code on a computer record, got valued at more worth than one ounce of gold – in the process shocking some experts who were asking, “How can value be created out of nothing?” Well, they forgot about the basics – faith is what creates value for money first and foremost. And since we’ve got an army of devoted believers in Bitcoin and “the faith is strong with this one” this might enlighten you on understanding the Bitcoin phenomena. Where is the revolution? Bitcoin has managed to bypass the government’s eye as a code of cryptocurrency has its own set of rules for compliance (if you don’t complain, you’ll be rejected by the network) and it allows you to make transactions directly – without your bank or any third party, aka middle men. Bitcoin’s closest rival Ether, which I mentioned in the begging of this never-ending piece, is surging in popularity too and has returned roughly 4,000 percent since January. As the popularity of trading cryptocurrencies soars, can Bitcoin – or, say, Ether, move from being a virtual currency to fiat money in the traditional sense? Sure – but only if the government would accept such currencies – or grant one of them with the privilege of that currency being used to pay taxes. The capability to realize any governmental requirements for payments and fees directly is unique to fiat currency and is the main distinguishing characteristic to any alternative currencies. BTW, if you think that a scenario where a government would re-accommodate its monetary settings is within the realm of science fiction – think again. Average gross government debt reached 112% of GDP across OECD countries and we know there is already a very sizeable amount of debt (and we don’t know about the unofficial amount) related to the US dollar, the Euro, the Chinese Yuan and even the Japanese Yen (See some very cool visualization pictures HERE.) Add the fact that public trust in governments near historic lows (check out the latest edition of the OECD’s Government at a Glance report and an enlightening chart below) and remember my passage above about faith: this variable is the most important in the formula of money. So, let’s think for a moment while putting ourselves in the government’s shoes: if you can’t stop the movement, why not lead it? How to ICO in brief: legal, technicalities and more Since token sales are falling into something between being donations and investments and there is still not a defined legal framework, I would strongly encourage you to learn in depth what you are getting into. Talk to your legal counsel or find one. Meanwhile, the best summary of legal issues surrounding ICOs I discovered HERE; I would also recommend subscribing to LegalTechNews.com. And while, echoing Brock, there isn’t a template yet I would still like everyone to understand the general simplified algorithm involved, so here are some steps: First, you would have to choose your currency. As of today, funds that are raised via ICOs are most frequently received in Bitcoins (BTC) or Ether (ETH). Once you choose your currency unit, you will need to create a Bitcoin or Ethereum address so you can display a link with an address for receiving funds right on your webpage – a bit similar to what you would have to create if you were launching your campaign on Kickstarter, for example, or displaying your bank account info on your webpage for your backers/donors to send money to. On your webpage, you should describe your business, use of funds and why anyone should believe in the value you are building – so pretty similar to the page you would open on Kickstarter or similar crowdfunding platforms. Your backers will be sending BTC or ETH to your address, when in return they will be receiving tokens issued by you. You, as the founder/owner of the project can utilize the received BTC or ETH to pay your staff, or sell the received cryptocurrency for fiat currency on a cryptocurrency exchange (which btw might not be “cool” in the words of the blockchain community but hey – no judgement). So, fairly simple and no coding required. And yes, I hear your question of what backers would do with their tokens, so stay with me. In 2015, I wrote a piece called “IPO for All or How to Create Your Own Currency” where I pointed out that if you happen to live in the 21st century, your company’s stock should be worth money, and you should be able to turn around and sell it. In other words, every operational (and ethical) venture, regardless of its size, industry and even growth rate (that is probably not high enough to command market multiples satisfying VCs’ appetites and their “hit-or-miss” business model), should have an opportunity to pitch its investment offerings to all types of potential investors (including avid customers) and go public so that its stock eventually could become a currency for its founding team and employees. That time I was talking about mini-IPOs, or so called Reg A+ , following the signing of the JOBS Act (a total of $396M was raised through the end of February 2017). Fast forward to the present I wonder now – can ICOs also serve a purpose similar to that of equity crowdfunding otherwise known as Regulation Crowdfunding (you can learn more about equity crowdfunding types in my piece HERE)? But the most fundamental question remains open: what makes your tokens a currency? David Koepsell says; “Here’s what I think about token sales: if the token is used as a medium of exchange outside of speculation, then it is a currency. If a token is bought and sold as a pure market speculation, then its function is different, not a currency.” Has anyone made any profits out of investing in ICOs? “Sure, I do know some who bought Golem during ICO and sold for hefty profits,” he adds. “If you buy large volumes of tokens during an ICO, chances are you are speculating that you could make a mint.” (Learn more about Golem HERE). OK then. What else do we need to know? Important features of ICOs: don’t try this at home Steven Wright, a legendary comedian and an Oscar-winning film producer once said; “There’s a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot.” So, while it is hard to find common patterns in the current “wild west” world of ICOs, there are some features that might help you decide if you would like to join this club, password required. The typical project is heavily rooted in blockchain and has a founding team with a very strong background in cryptocurrencies or decentralization. So, if you are thinking of raising funds for a pizza restaurant that’s not a good idea – well, at least not yet. (When I shared the “pizza place story” I had to agree with David Orban as he reminded me that in the early 90s with the rise of Internet, the owners of restaurants never thought of getting websites for their “low-tech” businesses). Most ICOs have several white papers, but the language of pitching material you will see on the webpages is very “loose”, with little or no risks addressed and disclaimers suggesting that tokens are “not a security and not an investment”. Self-identification is welcomed but not needed – neither from the side of backers nor from the side of the fundraisers. The prices can change quickly so early investors are not expecting more favorable valuations by default vs later investors as might be found in a typical fundraising deal. There are targets, set automatically, for minimum and maximum amounts to be raised. If the minimum is not achieved, the backers will be refunded and the project will be closed; when the maximum is reached, no more tokens will be issued. Liquidity is believed to be achieved right after ICO when the tokens will be listed on cryptocurrency exchanges – which have neither listing requirements nor any obligations of conducting due diligence on coins they are listing. Based on my research and interviews, the cost of ICO can run from $100K (which typically would cover only the legal bills) to $250K and higher. If you are still reading you must be onto something Let’s recap and add some important points: With ICOs, a startup with a blockchain technology issues its own cryptocurrency that is believed and perceived by its followers, users and customers as “money” which can be used as a medium of exchange. Therefore, it is a startup’s network who will assign an economic value of the founder’s interest in his own venture given everyone’s stake (remember – not equity’s stake!) and the law of supply and demand. And it is also the startup network and the customer base who will be influencing further value fluctuations. This is quite a different animal if you think about the traditional VC model where a group of financiers negotiate a valuation of the company with a founding team, based on their own sense of rightness and a financial model presented beautify in an Excel spreadsheet. Since crypto-markets are typically very liquid markets we might witness the rise of speculators who could easily pump-and-dump. The system is self-regulated so what can go wrong here? Everything – just like in any heavily regulated system (hashtag: human nature). When you are looking at the current state of ICOs, in this new wild frontier of finance, you might want to point an unsustainable system which is overcrowded by bad actors, immature players and simply random people who should not be in the business of building companies in the first place. But let’s step back and remember that any emerging complex system has a non-linear expansion, volatility is part of the progress and historically bubbles are the painful tools which clean out the system and make it stronger without killing it in. Reflect on the dotcom bubble which didn’t kill the Internet but eventually took it to a whole new level. Remember a well-known mantra: the more things change – the more things stay the same. In fact, I can speculate that to date the most profits have been made via investing in startups designing financial instruments – quite similar to why Wall Street loves companies designing financial products or, to put it simply, when “finance invests in finance”. So, my metaphysical question – can ICO, in its developed and upgraded form in the near future, become an instrument that would actually incentivize real businesses, with real customers and a social mission? I have yet to find an answer to this one, but if anything, it is clear we are in the midst of a drastic change in the financing world when blockchain technology has brought an entirely new dimension formed by the “tokenization of the economic activities,” in the words of David Orban. For what it’s worth, we already see a rise of good ventures – the Amazon type – or impactful ventures like, for example TheSunExchange.com (where you can purchase solar cells if you so wish). We also observe the change in governments’ attitudes all over the world as they suddenly pay close attention to what used to be a forbidden subject. At no time in human history have we had the debt levels we currently have. And – with interest rates that are already close to zero, the Holy Grail of monetary policy – the capacity to stimulate economic activity via lowering interest rates – is becoming irrelevant. To put it simply, the system cannot work the way it was designed to work and is more and more perceived to be unstable (remember my passage about faith?). Do you hear that cracking sound too? What now? Well, for better or worse, what we are witnessing is a historical phenomenon where on the one hand, companies are becoming as powerful as national governments serving a massive number of people who are digitally and globally connected and very easy to reach, influence and deploy. On other hand, there’s the rise of a technology which is capable of serving as a medium for value transference while completely bypassing central banks in a completely self-regulated system – which I bet will prove the truth in Plato’s famed quote that; “Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws.” The future of finance has already arrived – we just need to open our eyes – and minds – to see it through our modern, screen-driven lives and…not get scared. Fundamentally, the wealth has been generated from abstract concepts for centuries so, let’s dare not to judge but instead to think, educate ourselves and understand. *ICO will be one of the key alternative funding topics discussed at the World Funding Summit to be held Nov 17 and 18 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. For more details go to www.worldfundingsummit.com Victoria Silchenko, Ph.D. is a leading alternative funding expert, an economist turned entrepreneur and educator, Founder & CEO of business consultancy Metropole Capital Group, Creator & Producer of the World Funding Summit and an Adjunct Professor on “Entrepreneurial Finance” @CLU. Dr. Silchenko currently serves on the Board of the Los Angeles Venture Association (LAVA) & California Stock Xchange. LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
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