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EVE Online's largest player-run bank freezes accounts due to massive deficit

Stick with us, because this could get confusing: EVE Online has a long and storied history of in-game corruption, chock-full of enough political and social drama to make Ron Moore's head spin. The latest -- and actually, ongoing since June -- problem comes in the form of financial woes. On August 26, EBANK -- EVE Online's largest player-run financial entity -- revealed it currently has a (roughly) 1.2 trillion InterStellar Kredits (ISK) deficit and would freeze all player and organization accounts that were investing with the bank.

As with other MMOs, EVE Online's economy is completely player-driven. Users can adopt various play styles which affect the world's economic machine, allowing players to create and topple empires within the fictional world of New Eden. Where EVE Online differs is how users have expanded the tools given to them by developer CCP Games. Using the game's developer-provided API to create tools that can monitor various pieces of data, players have developed their own financial organizations, complete with standards and rules, like real world banks.

Sadly, EVE Online's largest player-operated bank mimicked real world financial institutions too closely.

In June, former EBANK CEO "Ricdic" embezzled over 200 billion ISK from the bank and later sold it in real life, triggering the complete destruction of trust built by the organization. While safeguards were in place to halt any corporate malfeasance, EBANK was rocked by the embezzlement and over 380 billion in defaulted loans on top of the corruption have pulled the organization deeper into the red.

According to EBANK's newly appointed Chairman Ray McCormack the bank has been poorly managed; so much so that it took bank administrators weeks to discover how deep the financial hole was. The decision to freeze accounts means players will not be allowed to withdraw funds, and accounts will no longer accrue interest. While 1.2 trillion ISK in losses was enough to rock EVE Online's economy, McCormack says further losses may be not accounted for, "Such as operational losses, additional theft and reporting errors."

The official EBANK losses breakdown, or "Where did all the ISK go?"

As for EBANK's future, the organization also plans to freeze all bank staff salaries and consolidate its various ISK-generating ventures -- which our sister site Massively states are on a massive downswing throughout EVE Online. In hopes to recover player trust, EBANK aims to be more transparent in the future starting with publicly naming individuals and organizations behind defaulted loans that contributed to the 1.2 trillion ISK debacle.

No time frame was revealed for when the bank will resume normal operation, which cannot be comforting for legitimate EBANK customers. According to McCormack, withdrawals will be allowed once the bank achieves "a maintainable equity status of 90% (1.8t currently)." However, if the maintainable equity drops below 80% the bank will freeze operations again -- which is possible considering the bank claims to be losing approximately 12 billion ISK a month.

And all we wanted to do was shoot some stuff in space ...

[Via Ars Technica]

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