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Can You Truly Own Anything In The Metaverse?
If you already couldn’t afford to buy a house in real life, you’re going to hit the roof when you find out that digital real estate is also being sold for millions. So, what is going on? Enter the metaverse — an interconnected network of digital worlds that allows users to interact with each other via personalized avatars.
And in this world, you have the freedom to invest and purchase digital assets such as real estate, which exists in the form of NFTs, a non-interchangeable unit that exists on the blockchain. Because NFTs can be minted and stored on the blockchain, they make the concept of digital ownership possible. All of which have ignited the market for digital works of art that have opened up a whole new economy for art collectors and investors alike.
Besides works of art, NFTs have found a niche for themselves in the metaverse where participants mint in-game assets on NFTs. Inside this universe, as Tezro explains here, NFTs represent any type of digital asset — from avatars and clothing to actual digital real estate.
How realistic is any of this? And what’s stopping metaverse platforms or even the government from claiming otherwise? So, with all of that in mind, let’s take a look at some considerations:
The Blockchain Keeps All Records
Blockchain tech makes the concept of digital ownership possible as it allows transactions to be stored and recorded on a decentralized ledger.
This information can then be easily accessed and viewed by all relevant parties. And when you purchase an NFT, the transaction record is stored and maintained on the blockchain. It cannot be deleted or modified in any way, allowing you to own a digital asset.
Unfortunately, you need to keep in mind that the blockchain and cryptocurrencies are 100% unregulated and decentralized. So, while you can prove ownership of your digital asset, there are no property or copyright laws to enforce this. And this brings us to our next point:
You May Not Be Protected Legally
First of all, the company that owns the platform is free to dictate the terms of ownership of digital assets purchased by you. This means that the company is free to make any changes to your digital assets, including removing ownership. When that happens, there’s nothing that you can do as you’ve already signed the terms of the agreement. Even if you can prove that you own an NFT, the platform could quickly render it financially useless.
You Cannot Transfer Digital Assets
Another issue that comes with owning assets in the metaverse is transferability. While you may own an item on one platform, you probably can’t transfer it to another metaverse application or game. So, if your platform suddenly goes under overnight, this would make your NFT essentially worthless.
Platforms Control Everything
It’s common among many companies to include a clause that gives them the right to change the terms of a contract without your consent. And this is why you should always read the fine print every time you sign up for a metaverse account. At the end of the day, owning assets in the metaverse is a risky affair without government intervention.