Who wants to be a virtual millionaire?

[intro]The surreal sensation of Second Life continues apace, with news that the online community has just spawned its first millionaire [/intro] Du

[intro]The surreal sensation of Second Life continues apace, with news that the online community has just spawned its first millionaire [/intro]

Duran Duran performing virtual gigs on their own purpose-built island, avatars trapped in an online version of Big Brother – the surreal sensation of Second Life continues apace, with news that the online community has just spawned its first millionaire.

That's a real millionaire, folks, making real money from selling estate that is far from real – instead of bricks and mortar, Anshe Chung has made her fortune in pixelated holdings. She buys and develops houses and units in Second Life and sells them in its official currency of Linden Dollars – which is recognised on the US stock market and exchangeable against US dollars.

She's the owner of several virtual shopping malls, massive cash holdings and even several "virtual brands". Good work for someone who doesn't exist. Her creator, Ailin Graef, started off in Second Life two years ago with an outlay of just $9.95 for a Second Life account and now employs 25 people to keep the Chung brand alive in Second Life.

Seems that what started out as a happy-clappy online utopia is getting more like a gritty everyday business – I for one can do without a second mortage…