Red Herring has named Live Gamer, a virtual items trading company, as one of the top 100 privately held companies in North America in 2008. The annual Red Herring 100 North America Awards are given to companies identified as the most promising tech startups.

Love it or hate it, RMT is not going away. The virtual trading economy, which includes avatars, items and in-game currencies, is estimated to be a market worth more than USD 1.8 billion. Much of this trading takes place on the black market, exposing buyers and sellers alike to potential fraud. Live Gamer aims to remove the sketchiness from virtual item trades, enabling secure player-to-player trading while taking business away from some of the banes of the MMO world: virtual item thieves.

The overwhelming majority of virtual item transactions and services are in violation of the Terms of Use of the virtual worlds these goods exist within. Despite this illegitimacy, the practice still thrives -- as do the gold farmers and power levelers who profit from an unregulated marketplace. Live Gamer works with publishers to keep virtual trades in check, through a regulated secondary market. The hope is that the activities of hackers, scammers, and thieves will be curbed, while gold farmers lose customers who opt for legitimate transactions. Despite how new the company is, Live Gamer has already partnered with some major industry players. Even though other notable game developers and publishers aren't willing to work with Live Gamer, it's clear that the company is becoming very significant, very quickly. It seems that Red Herring had them pegged right.

This article was originally published on Massively.
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