Grey Market

Unofficial trading of game items
A hologram of a spaceship

The Star Citizen Grey Market, also called Black Market, is the unofficial trading of Star Citizen ships and other items.[1]


Everything buyable on the RSI store is or will be available to purchase with in-game currency directly in-game, making the spending of real money on anything beyond a starter pack containing the game's digital download entirely unnecessary.

Sales limited in time and/or in number affect those willing to spend real money, thus players trade between themselves.[1] This affects not only ships and other similar virtual items, but also the demand for liftetime insurance which is also limited, despite Cloud Imperium Games (CIG) stating repeatedly that lifetime insurance is a slight convenience and not a game changer.[2][1] Evolving real life ship prices with future increases are also causing speculation. The Grey Market is also used by some players to avoid melting their ships and refund their purchases despite CIG no refund policy past 30 days.[3]

Items that are not currently freely available to everyone in the game, such as fish tanks or potted plants currently available only to subscribers, or as stretch goal rewards, or during conventions, also find buyers.[4]

Despite everything eventually being buyable in-game, ships will be manufactured from shipyards, which will still affect the rarity and in-game price of some ships taking a lot of time and effort to produce, such as a cruiser. Therefore players who feel the need to have that cruiser right now while there won't be one coming out of the shipyard for a while may want to use the grey market even once the game launches. While talking about ship scarcity, Chris Roberts said that it was a creative design decision to make sure the Persistent Universe isn't unbalanced.[1]

With no complete game in which to compare the spaceships, and many of them existing solely as concept art JPEGs, the ships' relative value is based on subjective speculation and theorizing, and lifetime insurance estimates have been extrapolated out by some people to hundreds of dollars on the larger spaceships.[4]


In November 2012, CIG stopped selling ships with LTI to newcomers, this caused a marked increase in grey market trading, which itself created the apparition of more dedicated traders and scammers in pursuit of profit, including with markups of 400%.[1]

Following the increase in scams, in April 2014, CIG announced plans to change its gifting system.[5] As result, middlemen switched from managing ships to managing the money.[1]

Unused accounts have been registered to receive stretch goal rewards for sale.[4] Besides money, people have put up for trade keys for other games, currency from other MMOs, and services like web design or spaceship pilot custom portraits, as well as cars and dirt bikes.[4]


Since the trading is done between individuals, possibly with a third party such as a middleman for example in the form of a trading site, outside of CIG's control, there is a possibility of scams.

  • The seller offers a ship and the buyer pays, however the seller is never heard from again. Or the buyer promises to pay on delivery, the seller delivers the ship, but the buyer is never heard from again.[6]
  • The seller successfully sells a ship from their account, only to later claim that his account was hacked, and gets CIG to return all the ships to their account.[6]
  • Buying ships as a mean to spend stolen money from stolen credit cards, then selling them to launder the stolen money. Once the fraudulent purchase is declared by the credit card theft victim to the bank, the bank cancels the transaction, resulting in CIG cancelling the transaction, resulting in the ship being gone from the account.[6]
  • Disputing the transaction after the sale to get a refund, especially in conjunction with the use of the gifting function in payment processors. More common with payment processors who facilitate refunds, such as PayPal.[6]
  • A contrary, getting a refund from your payment processor can be more or less feasible depending on a variety of factors, including using an unverified PayPal account, not being covered by protections due to the transaction being about virtual items which may not be treated equally by every payment processor in every country. Cryptocurrency trades are particularly vulnerable to not being refunded.[6]
  • While a middleman such as a third party trading platform minimizes risks, a middleman can actually be the scammer's alt or an accomplice.[6]
  • Just because someone calls themselves a middleman, or a trusted platform, doesn't mean they are actually trustworthy. It's better to double check everything and evaluate the risks, and even when trusted, "trust but verify".[6]
  • Even when a middleman seems legitimate and has a good reputation and a good record that's real, it could be a long con, seeking to establish trustworthiness only to better scam at a later point.[6]

This list is non exhaustive. Lying is a thing, including about guarantees.

However you evaluate the risks, don't risk money you can't afford to risk.

CIG Position

Pledges purchased through third parties such as private sales, trades, social media and/or 3rd party websites, are not authorized, supported, or condoned by CIG. CIG strongly advises against engaging with them.[7]

Virtual Goods received from Grey Market or third party transactions may have been obtained by such third party through fraud or stolen from a compromised account. CIG legally recovers stolen pledges, whether reclaimed or active, back to the customer of record during the restoration of compromised accounts.[7]

In the event that a trade of pledges falls through and/or involves illicit or unauthorized means, CIG will not be able to assist. Any issues with respect to 3rd party transactions should be addressed to the 3rd party, not CIG.[7]

CIG Rules

  • A thirty-day ‘gift lock’ on gifting users’ first purchases. This is intended to block users who create throwaway accounts to transfer stolen ships and packages.[5]
  • In order to eliminate the middleman scam, packages are only giftable once, before they are locked to the gift recipient's account.[5]
  • Packages and ships purchased using store credit may not be gifted. This is to prevent anyone from circumventing the single-gift limit by melting items for store credit and then purchasing them again.[5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Inside Star Citizen's grey market, Eurogamer, 9 Oct 2014
  2. Future Concept Sale Plans. Transmission - Comm-Link. Retrieved 2014-09-19
  3. Refunds FAQ. Knowledge Base. Retrieved November 04, 2019
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 I Sold My ‘Star Citizen’ Fleet To Finance a New Car,, October 28, 2016
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Gifting Changes Alert. Transmission - Comm-Link. Retrieved 2014-04-25
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 scams, Starcitizen trades
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Gifting FAQs. Knowledge Base. Retrieved 2023

🍪 We use cookies to keep session information to provide you a better experience.