The metaverse is expected to transform the way people and businesses communicate and operate in innovative but unpredictable ways. Its potential can have a significant impact on society as technologies become more widespread and sophisticated. But managing the metaverse is a multifaceted challenge that must take into account certain elements. Interoperability, confidentiality and security are part of it.
In its simplest definition, the term metaverse refers to a unified and persistent virtual environment. You can access it through technologies of augmented reality (XR). It is believed that virtual worlds incorporating connected devices, blockchain and other technologies will be so common that the metaverse will become an extension of reality itself. Last year, tech giant Facebook played up the metaverse. The group announced that they had renamed themselves Meta. Google, Microsoft and Apple are also working on technology related to the metaverse. However, ever since the discussion of the metaverse became mainstream and organizations began to get involved in it, there has been a debate about the governance of the metaverse.
The problem raised by the management of the metaverse
In fact, they are the fundamental structures that support the ethical and technological foundations of the metaverse decentralized. And therein lies the problem. The decentralized architecture provides many opportunities for organizations to participate in the metaverse. But decentralization also makes governance difficult.
We have already received quite a few reports of sexual harassment in the metaverse. Furthermore, there is no appropriate protocol for data protection. Another problem is cryptographic hacks. For example, hackers managed to grab $100 million worth of cryptocurrency after infiltrating Horizon Bridge from Harmony. So what is the solution? There are various areas of metaverse governance that require attention.
Data protection is one aspect of metaverse governance that can be easy to implement. Laws governing data protection regulations in physical and Web 2.0 environmentssuch as GDPR, is relatively transferable.
Ultimately, the key to ensuring a user’s right to privacy is to transfer existing legislation in the real world to the virtual space. Of course, this degree of legislative oversight borders on centralized control. However, power is in the hands of government and not private organizations.
With fines and imprisonment a real possibility in some cases, data protection regulations are in place a significant deterrent. The difficulty will arise in determining the jurisdiction as to where these laws will apply.
Cyber threats are a major concern for metaverse platforms and users. With so much lucrative data being created so frequently, the temptation to attack is overwhelming.
In terms of the governance of the metaverse, platforms must respect a minimum level of cyber security infrastructure. There may be a rating system that users refer to before using a particular platform.
Similar to a health and safety assessment in physical premises, an overall cyber security assessment empower users to make decisions. Other than that, new metaverse platforms should be safe by design. This commitment could ensure that all new platforms boast a gold standard of cyber security.
As we mentioned, user security is already an issue in the metaverse. For users to feel completely safe, there must be an overall consensus on what constitutes a safe environment.
It will come down to one code of conduct that platforms agree to follow, understanding that mistakes will result in fines. How organizations meet these requirements will undoubtedly vary from platform to platform. In addition, the technologies are different. Therefore, protective measures will require a tailor-made solution.
Metaverse government officials should consider physical security. In addition, users must enforce their human rights. This will include an obligation to protect against hate speech, verbal abuse, racist behavior, etc.. Although human rights issues are contested in many countries, the metaverse could provide a space where an overall commitment to human rights is inoculated from the field.
Another aspect of metaverse governance going forward is interoperability. It refers to platforms with the ability to share information, allow users to easily switch between them and collaborate on different projects.
that Metaverse Standards Forum was launched recently. It aims to support an open metaverse, encouraging organizations to commit to interoperability standards. The forum is free and should develop a set of technical standards that will unite multiple metaverse platforms. Already, some big companies have come on board, including Adobe, Alibaba Epic Games, Meta, Microsoft, Nvidia, Sony Interactive Entertainment and many more.
Educate employees, actors of the metaverse
The metaverse is about our experience with the Internet of the future. Web 3.0, on the other hand, is about building the future of the Internet. Companies that build with Web 3.0 must ensure that their employees have skills and tools to identify threats – internally and externally – and take appropriate measures to reduce security risks.
In the past, countless businesses have lost consumer trust due to the lack of security and safe practices in Web 2.0 applications. All employees must receive an education on Igood information. They will thus be able to ensure personal and commercial security and prevent the spread and leakage of data. Organizations should implement a pedagogical approach at the very beginning of their journey of building with Web 3.0 and creating interaction paradigms in a metaverse.
Good product design to strengthen management of the metaverse at the point of use
Availability, interoperability, and privacy are just a few examples of metaverse governance challenges. Some may be handled by product designfor example by applying uniform industry standards and protocols for XR hardwarewhich should be the main entrance to the metaverse.
The application of standards to product design also includes software. Experts believe that making virtual environments interoperable is one of the defining characteristics of the metaverse. This will allow users to participate in united socio-cultural activities.
Interoperability can apply to different layers of the metaverse. It is still being defined. But the ambition behind it is to strengthen competition by reducing the power of network effects and lower entry barriers. It has become a principle in antitrust policy for the Internet that can be translated into discourse on the governance of the metaverse.
Regulation and management of the metaverse
In an abstract economy where metaverse experiences create opportunities, a metaverse regulatory and governance system with recognized intermediaries is important. This provides supervision and builds trust.
Information derived from your digital assets and interactions must be regulated. In addition, users must be protected against malicious or manipulative use of their data. One method of doing this is transparency in use.
This is theoretically possible by using immutable records for capture data access and usepp. When these are decentralized (as in blockchain), they could provide democratic access to monitor and control the behavior of those who wish to use the data. Moreover ownership and monetization concept in a metaverse space can be democratized through capacities such as non-loot tokens used in a blockchain.
The dilemma of distributed or shared governance of the metaverse
The emergence of alternative governance structures, which are becoming increasingly popular among web3 advocates, may exacerbate the challenge. They argue that users rather than managers should have a decision-making authority in a company. In its purest form, this manifests itself as Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs). They provide users with blockchain-based tokens (NFTs). This gives owners financial and management rights.
Many virtual worlds sell digital assets with the rules and assets set by the DAOs. In theory, the model could be applied to any governance issue. Daos simply put questions for the members to vote on. Indeed, it has been argued that DAO mechanics can also be applied to content moderation challenge.
The theory is appealing. But the distributed management of the metaverse does not provide an obvious remedy when governance challenges get out of control. About a virtual environment managed by a DAO becomes toxic, Who is responsible ? Proponents will say that a “healthy and successful” decentralized app is one that produces more usage.
As such, rule changes are likely to be approved only if they serve the interest of the community using them. Since a toxic environment would turn off participants, moderation happens naturally without enforcement. But the principle has not yet been tested.
More questions than answers
The control of the metaverse is a multifaceted challenge – which is not surprising given the emerging technology. The products on which the metaverse will be built will present difficult trade-offs interoperability, privacy and security which will be difficult to handle.
Moreover, what worked in the real world cannot easily apply to the metaverse. New designs will require careful experimentation before they can be trusted on a large scale. In short, there is more questions than answers right now about how to rule the metaverse.