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Current Exchange Rate
GeekGold has an intrinsic monetary worth. After ongoing GeekGold inflation, the rate of exchange as of 2019 was about 100 GG per US$.
With inflation continuing, one GeekGold is now worth less than one cent each, with the exchange rate as of 2021 now about 150-200 GG per US$.
Calculating the Exchange Rate
The value of GeekGold is measurable to some extent, because in the GeekAuctions people bought GeekGold with real money and with real games that had an actual material value. Based on such data from GeekAuctions, it was possible to guesstimate the rate of exchange between GeekGold and the US dollar, and to track how this changed over the years.
GeekAuctions were disbanded in 2016, but since then a GeekGold for Sale thread gives another indication of the trade value of GG. However, the estimated exchange rates below have for the most part not taken into account GeekGold exchanged directly for items, which could make the value of GeekGold higher than what is shown.
Exchange Rate from 2005-2021
The real-world value of GeekGold has steadily decreased over time, and this trend is expected to continue (though not as quickly as in the past), mostly because of the finite possibilities for spending it. The values shown below are based mainly on direct cash for GG auctions. Note that originally the vast majority of GG auctions were for games, whereas now the vast majority of auctions in later years were for cash.
The GeekAuction feature was discontinued in 2016, although similar transactions of GG for US$ still occur in GeekBay. As explained below, arguably the best option that is currently available for exchanging GeekGold for games is The GeekGold for Game Lotteries where you can attempt to win games, gift certificates and more with GG.
2005: ~6GG per US$
Note that prior to 2010 the data used is very limited and based on a small sample size, and only a rough approximation is possible, rather than an accurate value. Also note that as mentioned already, the above exchange rates are mostly based on geekgold auctions for direct cash rather than for items, and so the above figures are at best a rough and subjective guesstimate, rather than an exact value.
In 2020 and 2021, in the GeekGold for Sale thread it was not uncommon to see lots of 1000GG to sell for $5 each (or slightly more), which represents an exchange rate of around ~200GG per US$.
Since 2005, the value of GeekGold has deflated significantly, so that 100GG is presently worth less than US$1. Examples are available of what you could purchase with GeekGold from 2005-2007 (see here and here and here).
For more historical data about the changing value of GeekGold, see the original content of this wiki article as it appeared in 2006, the excellent article by Simon Hunt from 2007, and the thread by Tom Rosen from 2007. This more recent summary from 2010 traces the declining value of GeekGold over time. From 2014-2016, GeekAuctions for US$10 have often sold for 400GG-500GG.
The main cause of GeekGold inflation is caused by the constant injection of GeekGold into BGG's economy. This happens especially as a result of the following factors:
1. The issuing of significant GeekGold via annual supporter bonuses.
One significant catalyst for inflation was the 150GG supporter bonus of 153.15GG that was distributed to all paying BGG supporters at the end of 2010 in connection with the 2010 end-of-year support drive, as first discussed in this thread started by John Peterson. While the rate of exchange was 15GG per US$ at the end of 2010, by early 2011 it was already typical for amounts of US$10 to sell for 250GG in the GeekAuctions.
The influx of GG created by these supporter drives and its effect on the value of GeekGold has continued in subsequent years, with a further 143.30GG supporter bonus distributed at the end of 2011 in connection with the 2011 end-of-year support drive, which witnessed an immediate increase in the GeekGold paid for money auctions. By early 2012, most GeekAuctions for US$10 were selling for 300GG or more, some even as high as 500GG or more.
This trend continued in later years, with several GeekAuctions for US$10 selling for 600-1000GG in January 2016 (i.e. 60-100GG per US$). Subsequent supporter bonuses awarded were 160.00GG at the end of 2012, 207.36GG at the end of 2013, 219.82GG at the end of 2014, 387.81GG at the end of 2015, and a massive 929.5GG at the end of 2016. In 2017 the supporter bonus was again paid out but was fixed at 1000GG. Future years have continued issuing of this same fixed amount of 1000GG.
2. The ease of acquiring GeekGold as a result of improved technology.
Another contributing factor is the improved technology (e.g. phones, cameras, tablets, videos) available to the average user, making it easier to submit photos and videos in return for GeekGold. Prior to 2005, most users did not own such technology, meaning that the only way to earn GG was by writing articles, making it much harder to accumulate GeekGold.
3. The absence of new ways to spend GeekGold.
With GeekGold steadily being introduced into the economy, there have been many discussions about the need for further ways to spend GeekGold, and to create "GeekGold sinks" that reduce the impact of this devaluation of GeekGold. See for example this thread (December 2010) and this thread (January 2013). With an steadily increasing user-base earning GeekGold, and with long time users often accumulating large amounts of GeekGold over time, more and more GeekGold is being injected into the economy without new ways to spend it, so invariably its value gets diluted.
Games for GeekGold (G4GG)
The GeekGold for Game lotteries have been running since October 2009, and use a bid-based lottery system which participants enter by paying GeekGold. Since participating in these lotteries offers no guaranteed return, they give no reliable indication of the value of GeekGold. However, in many cases an auctioneer earns well over the going rate for GeekGold, while in other much less. Typically the value of the item is not as relevant as to the popularity of the item, the best auctions which earn the most GeekGold often have both value and popularity.
These lotteries also contribute to the ongoing devaluation of GeekGold. By reviewing previous G4GG listings and GeekGold auctions, it is evident that sometimes there is a direct correlation of a person earning GeekGold in one and selling it in the other.
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