EU’s Vision for an Open and Secure Metaverse
As we look at the next frontier of technology, the metaverse, large tech-centric companies appear to be leading the way in the race to create the perfect virtual ecosystem. While fascinating, this notion of a shared, immersive digital space has raised concerns within the European Union (EU) regulatory bodies. They have pointed out the risk of a potential monopoly, warning that it could disadvantage smaller firms and neglect core European values.
A leaked draft document recently highlighted these concerns, revealing the EU Commission’s proactive stance. According to the draft, the Commission is championing the cause of regulations tailored to innovative technologies to ensure a secure future for the Metaverse. The document, expected to be released on July 11, underlines, “Virtual worlds bring unprecedented opportunities in many societal areas. This technological shift also involves new forms of global governance.”
Key Provisions in the Draft Document
The draft document, seen by Coindesk, is an in-depth guide to the EU’s intentions, indicating the need for changes in existing legal frameworks. The purpose? To pave the way for forming new entities similar to decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), which would oversee metaverse activities.
The EU Commission emphasizes several key areas: health, education, and culture. Its vision is a community-driven “web4”, necessitating a commitment to interoperability at all levels. As per the draft, the future of the internet should uphold EU values and rules, crafting an “open, secure space”. To accomplish this, the document encourages international collaboration on technology standards, identity management, and censorship.
“The Commission will support the creation of a technical multi-stakeholder governance process to address essential aspects of virtual worlds and Web4 that are beyond the remit of existing internet governance institutions,” the document reads.
Balancing Act: Users, Corporations, and Regulators
When it comes to regulation in the sphere of digital assets, the EU has made significant strides, setting a precedent for other jurisdictions. The Markets in Crypto Assets Regulation (MiCA) is a prime example of their leadership. This draft legislation aims to regulate cryptocurrencies, stablecoins, and digital asset exchanges. It has been praised as a landmark in industry regulation. Meanwhile, executives in the United States continue to call for more explicit regulatory guidelines.
This new metaverse document from the EU seeks equilibrium between users, corporations, and regulators. It emphasizes user freedom and interoperability while maintaining stringent standards for data privacy, protection, and gender-based laws. Additionally, the EU plans to roll out “sandboxes” to test smaller projects under its rules and introduce a Virtual World Toolbox in Q1 2024.
For companies, the strategy suggests the creation of specialized web3 hubs focusing on gaming, virtual reality, and related technology. This is coupled with an emphasis on forming partnerships with significant companies to facilitate the development of a metaverse roadmap across the jurisdiction.
Regarding challenges, a prevalent concern within metaverse spaces is the emergence of enclosed “walled garden” networks as the sector expands. In response, the EU has stated it will continue to work with firms to promote an open web 4.0. This foresight demonstrates their commitment to ensuring the metaverse adheres to their core values, even as it evolves.