Metaverse: opportunities, risks and policy implications

According to an article published by the European Parliament’s research service in June 2022, the metaverse –one of the most talked about concepts in modern technology– can be described as an immersive and constant virtual 3D world where people interact by means of an avatar to carry out a wide range of activities that can range from leisure and gaming to professional and commercial interactions, financial transactions or even health interventions such as surgery.

It is clear that the metaverse will not only open up a range of opportunities, but also a number of risks in a variety of legal field.

Major tech companies are scaling up their metaverse activities, including through mergers and acquisitions. This has given impetus to a debate on how merger regulations and antitrust law should apply. Business in the metaverse is expected to be underpinned largely by cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens, raising issues of ownership, misuse, interoperability and portability. Furthermore, the huge volume of data used in the metaverse raises a number of data protection and cybersecurity issues.

So, following the line of research of this article, there is considerable scope for a wide range of illegal and harmful behaviours and practices in the metaverse environment. This makes it essential to consider how to attribute responsibility, inter alia, for fighting illegal and harmful practices and misleading advertising practices, and for protecting intellectual property rights.

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