Cryptos pose a new threat- The MetaVerse Trap

The presentation of the Crypto regulation bill in the Parliament has put the industry promotion on an over drive. Zee Business recently ran a series of panel discussions to promote crypto currency, in a well crafted advertorial exercise. People who donot know that Cryptos are the currencies of criminals would have been very much impressed with the discussions which steered clear of the illegal use of Cryptos and spoke as if it is only a technology marvel.

There is no doubt that Bitcoins and other Cryptos as a system are attractive as a “Virtual Game” but when we discuss them as a “Currency” or an “Asset” we are laying down a trap for gullible investors to start investing and bring pressure on the Government to let it survive.

A new threat is getting added to the dangers of Bitcoins in the form of “Meta verse”, the “Virtual Real Estate” and Non Fungible Tokens (NFT) all of which are meant to  promote the Cryptos as the currency of the Virtual Space.

When “Domain Names” were new, there was a medical practitioner in Salem who had bought two “Web Sites” thinking that he had bought “Sites” similar to the physical property. When after one year the web pages under the URL disappeared, he filed a police complaint that his “Site” was stolen. Salem police at that time came to Chennai to take the assistance of the undersigned in understanding what was stolen.

There have been earlier legal cases in secondlife.com where a fraudster had bought virtual plots before an official auction and another case when furniture in a virtual cafe had disappeared.

FaceBook has been running several games such as “Farmville” in which virtual properties can be acquired either through gaming or by paying upfront cash.

As long as such games remained games there was fun and everybody enjoyed the game though the problem of “Addiction” was still there.

Secondlife.com first started the trend of linking the game experience to the real world by creating the “Virtual Currency” in the name of Linden and created an exchange market for converting US dollars to Linden and Viceversa. This was not “Crypto” but they served the purpose of a digital currency outside the regulatory system for fiat currencies.

The Cryptos like Bitcoin took the concept further and created a currency without even the benefit of providing a fun through games which secondlife.com or Farmville games provided.

Now a combination of the games and cryptos are emerging with the creation of “Tokenized Virtual Property” (Non Fungible Tokens or NFTs) which can be bought and sold with the use of Cryptos. These websites which donot provide any assurance of even short term survival are offering “Virtual Property” to be bought with a payment through Cryptos. The properties may be linked to Virtual Reality apps so that one can get an immersive experience of visiting, living in or otherwise using the virtual property.

See article in NYTimes

The Metaverse allows a user to take an “Avatar” which may be our identified face or other identities and perhaps pseudo identities. One can buy and deliver tokenized digital assets including music or art etc in the Meta Verse environment…all with Crypto currencies.

The Meta verse is therefore being created to provide a use for Cryptos and increase the market for Cryptos. Hence Meta Verse and Cryptos are to be considered as associated services.

There was one report that virtual land within Metaverse was recently sold for $2.43 million and was used to host virtual fashion shows for avatars.

The currency used in sandbox.com is “SAND” and is itself available to be brought in many Crypto exchanges.

Superworldapp.com allows you to buy and sell property anywhere in the world with the use of ETH.

In one perspective, all these developments are nothing but Video games in which some betting is being placed in terms of hard currency.

Some may argue that this is entertainment and has a value. If some body thinks that it is worth the money, it is their choice.

But as independent observers in the society, one needs to look at the long term impact of such games.

Apart from these games being constructed to support the digital black money of Crypto Currencies, the games are likely to make many individuals go crazy. The experience is immersive and enjoyable as long as it is for a few minutes. But it will soon become an addiction and start driving people crazy.

If Blue Whale could drive people to commit suicides, these games will drive them to be lunatics. The unfortunate part of it is that people will spend a fortune to become lunatics.

Policy makers need to be aware of the ill effects of this developments on the society and recognize a need to ensure that our younger generation is not destroyed by such so called “Innovations”.

Technology is losing all self control and the future looks very threatening. Just as we discuss the threats from Global warming etc., it is time to start discussing the “Global Gaming Threats” arising particularly out of the MetaVerse-Crypto Currency links.

(Comments welcome)

Naavi

 

Also check: Decentraland


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About Vijayashankar Na

Naavi is a veteran Cyber Law specialist in India and is presently working from Bangalore as an Information Assurance Consultant. Pioneered concepts such as ITA 2008 compliance, Naavi is also the founder of Cyber Law College, a virtual Cyber Law Education institution. He now has been focusing on the projects such as Secure Digital India and Cyber Insurance
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