Massive bank fraud in massively multiplayer game EVE

The chairman of the virtual bank in EVE Online, a space-trading/piracy game, absconded with billions of virtual credits, swapping them for $5,000 in cash to make a house payment. The embezzlement caused a run on the bank and has rocked the economy of EVE.
The run on the bank has come to about 600 billion ISK, which has been withdrawn. However, we have a very big group of excellent supporters, who have deposited about 105 billion ISK sitting in Sweep to keep us liquid. We are extremely grateful for this. Currently the run seems to be mostly over with only a slightly higher withdrawal rate still, than deposit rate. That's to be expected, and in-line with EBANK's strategy to shrink to a more managable level.

EBANK has always been extremely sound, due to our massive reserves. Our checks and balances have proven themselves to work as a mitigation device and by having the reserves spread out over several directors, the embezzlement was kept to a minimum. However, the run on the bank had the potential to do great damage to EBANK as people frantically made withdrawals to ensure they would not be caught if the bank ran short.

We have also had several offers from very large entities, regarding big loans, should we need to cover any insolvency. Frankly, this has yet to be needed. But we are grateful for the support.

Billions stolen in online robbery

New perspective on EVE Online's latest bank embezzlement (via /.)


  1. I could never play EVE, but I can’t help but be fascinated by the mayhem that occurs in the economic and political systems. I imagine an alien observer watching our news broadcasts would feel similarly.

  2. I used to have a brutally long commute. 59 miles each way. I used to entertain myself by imagining giving a random hitchhiking historical figure a lift and trying to explain WTF they were talking about on NPR.

    Imagine trying to explain this crime (?) to someone from 1950.

  3. Virtual embezzlement causing virtual run on virtual bank nearly causing virtual bank failure that leads to near collapse of virtual economy. Too bad the real world economy bailout wasn’t worth only $5,000.00

  4. Hmm … but the balance on the virtual bank’s account is just a record in a database. Why doesn’t the game’s provider just change it back to the value it had before the money was embezzled, and problem solved? It’s not like it was real money, I mean.

  5. #6 @Agger

    Because embezzlement is in line with game rules, as is any other form of deceit you might possibly practice in game. As long as it actually is in-game as account hacking and the like is disallowed.

  6. @#6: Because the GMs only do that (reimburse lost cash/items) if they were lost due to a known exploit or EULA violation.

    In fact, they most likely made the cash vanish into thin air when they deleted the guy’s character for the EULA violation of trading Isk for real-life cash.

    Corporate theft is simply considered a game mechanic, along with piracy (robbery) and a host of scams.

  7. EVE is fascinating – not the game, that seems batshit boring.

    But with players taking the power down at other players’ houses and massive in-game embezzling… it’s sort of riveting, and makes it all seem more appealing than it is.

  8. J France: The power cutting didn’t actually happen (although there were angry Russians standing by to do it). Details, and a wonderful quote, here.

    “CCP often touts this sort of thing with the bland marketing lingo of ‘player generated content.’ What that actually means is that you get to share a galaxy with Russian aluminum magnates, French-Indonesian nightclub-owning hackers, self-aggranziding ‘spymasters,’ and people who will cut the power lines to your house to destroy your internet spaceship. There’s something deliciously addictive about the sweeping, endemic insanity, one of the ever-present yet rarely remarked upon facets of this most unhinged of MMOs.”

  9. “Rocked the EVE economy”?


    This story isn’t so much a demonstration of EVE’s dog-eat-dog economy as CCP’s masterful PR operation. In a game where hundreds if not thousands of players have personal ISK balances in the trillions this was just a tiny little blip. What makes it even more underwhelming is that *every* bank in EVE’s history has eventually succumbed to fraud and embezzlement. Almost invariably it’s because a disgruntled player has become so bored that he’ll do something, anything, to add a little excitement to the mind-numbingly dull gameplay.

  10. I’m a little disturbed at how similar the in-game bank’s ‘press release’ was to the real thing.

  11. Hadn’t EVE become the proving grounds for Libertarians?

    While the economy is supposed to be a relatively free market, at its core (mineral prices) it is manipulated by CCP. Beyond that however, there isn’t much that is Libertarian about EVE. Piracy is rampant, and most of the corporations are really socialist collectives.

  12. I’m surprised no one has made mention of the fact this gentleman carried out this scheme to pay for a down payment on a house and medical bills.

    He bankrupted a bank to pay for things that usually cause individuals to go bankrupt themselves.

    There’s some lovely symmetry in there.

  13. @SKR: Heh. In my experience most of the PvP oriented corps are more like tribal warbands, held together by their prestige in battle and the charisma of their leaders.

    None of this complicated politics nonsense. :p

  14. @ Propnomicon #11: “This story isn’t so much a demonstration of EVE’s dog-eat-dog economy as CCP’s masterful PR operation.”

    Masterful PR operation? As a non-player of EVE, this press release makes me even less likely to play EVE than I already am. As far as I can tell as an outsider, Eve is a game that might just appeal to accountants if they don’t get enough of the boring parts of accountancy on their paying job.

    Also, there’s the review of Eve by Zero Punctuation, which pretty much nails the lid on.

  15. Hey, I love Zero Punctuation as much as the next guy, but Yahtzee himself admits that he is totally clueless when it comes to multiplayer gaming. As much as I rely on his opinions of single-player FPSs and RPGs, I wouldn’t trust him to review a Ludo board accurately, much less an MMORPG.

  16. i’d posit that most people who say eve is boring don’t venture into 0.0 (lawless) space or engage in much pvp. sure there are aspects of the game that appeal to the “xtreme accounting in space” set, but they are by no means integral to blowin’ shit up, if that’s what you’re looking for in an MMO.

    maybe the most boring aspect of this non-numbers route is getting yourself to the point where joining an alliance and engaging in warfare is a viable option. but to it’s credit, this period of grind makes your pvp experience all the more adrenaline-flooding because that shiny new ship you’ve just worked so hard for could end up a pile of flaming star junk.

    i have never played a game in my entire gaming life (which started in the atari 2600 days) that has as much depth, potential, and real excitement as eve.

    unfortunately, the game is so deep that in order to really have fun with it you have to spend a considerable amount of time in-game. there will always be those who can spend the majority of their waking hours engaged in byzantine politics, espionage, and setting up year-long revenge plots, but a lot of people have lives IRL. it is the absolute antithesis of a casual game. this time commitment is why i no longer play, though stories like this pop up every now and then and make me revisit my plans to whip up an “Idiocracy”-inspired gaming chair.

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