We understood their complaints, but felt cash-out gave other users an incentive to stay on the site, work hard, and get rewarded for their efforts in a real way.
Over the last few months we have been contacted by Facebook by two different departments saying that they will disable Facebook access to our application because it introduced a gambling aspect that is strictly forbidden by their terms and conditions. We worked with them to explain that chess is not gambling, but ultimately - because of the variability in the tournaments we offer (from handicaps and time control) and because players are using sophisticated ways of gaming the system (from engine use to sandbagging), we no longer feel that we can risk being shut-down by Facebook, so have decided to suspend cash-outs until we have the technical means to prevent any gaming of the system and the legal underpinning to definitely refute any 'gambling' charges.
On an important side practical note, we have also witnessed numerous money laundering attempts with users buying in with stolen credit cards and then cashing out to their email address; this is just another problem when offering users cash (as opposed to virtual goods): users will do all sorts of legal and illegal things to get the money - which was NOT what we wanted the focus of the site and crowns to be.
So what if I have been working towards cashing out crowns?
We have cashed out 1000s of dollars at this point and WILL cash out further requests for users who currently meet the threshold for cash out (over 1000 crowns, have not cheated, Paypal account etc.). We understand that some users may been working towards cashing out, but have not yet made it to 1000 crowns, and we will entertain sending those users cash as well, on a case-by-case basis. In both cases (whether you are over 1000 crowns or whether you have less than 1000 crowns), you will need to email us at [email protected] requesting the cashout. If your balance is relatively low, it is unlikely we will cash you out because you can use your crowns on the site (buying VIP or videos).
This cash-out offer is ONLY valid through the end of February and EXCLUDES crowns earned through today (Friday, January 27th) to then (i.e. we don't want users scrambling to make as many crowns as possible until the end of February to cash them out on the last day). We will no longer cash-out crowns after the end of February and will only activate this functionality again when all of the problems that have arisen from it have been resolved. We will check all requests, determine validity, process all payments and/or respond to emails to [email protected] during March.
We have run a final query on ALL crown holdings at the time cashout was suspended. This is the maximum amount anyone can cashout, so there is NO point in trying to get more crowns in order to cash them out.
What is the point of crowns if I can't cash them out?
Crowns will remain ChessCube's premium currency and you will still only be able use crowns to buy/gift VIP and buy/gift certain videos. We will be introducing exciting new capabilities, including merchandising offers with our partners (e.g. the ability to buy chess gear with crowns) over time as well.
Thanks for your understanding in this matter.
-The ChessCube Team