2021, investment company Purchased 2,000 acres of property for about $4 million. Normally this would never make the news, but in this case the land was virtual. existed only in metaverse a platform called sandboxBy purchasing a .792 Non-fungible token Above ethereum blockchainOffice then owned Equivalent to 1,200 city blocks.
But did it? It turns out that legal ownership in the metaverse is not so simple.
A common but legally problematic narrative among crypto enthusiasts is that NFTs allow true ownership of digital items in the metaverse for two reasons: decentralization and interoperability. . With these two technical features, some argue that: Tokens provide unambiguous proof of ownership, can be used in a variety of metaverse apps, environments, and games. Because of this decentralization, some also argue that: Buying and selling virtual items can be done on the blockchain itself at the price you want, without the permission of any individual or company.
Despite these claims, the legal status of virtual “owners” is rather complicated. In fact, current ownership of Metaverse assets is governed by contract law rather than property law.As jurist As a researcher of property law, technology policy, and legal ownership, I’ve learned that what many companies call “ownership” in the metaverse is not the same as ownership in the physical world; We believe that we are at risk of being deceived.
Purchasing an item in the Metaverse records the purchase transaction on blockchainis a digital ledger that is not under anyone’s control, and transaction records cannot be deleted or altered. A purchase assigns ownership of an NFT, which is simply a unique string of bits. store the NFT crypto wallet Only you can open it, and it can be “carried” anywhere in the Metaverse. Each NFT is linked to a specific virtual item.
Since NFTs reside in your cryptocurrency wallet, it’s easy to think that no one can take your NFT-backed virtual apartment, outfit, or magic wand from you without access to the wallet’s private key. For this reason, many people equate NFTs and digital items. Even experts confuse NFTs with their respective digital goods. NFT is personal propertythey allow Own digital goods in a virtual world.
Interoperability and portability are Defining Metaverse FunctionalityIn other words, it should be possible to transport non-real estate virtual assets (avatars, digital art, magic wands) from one virtual world to another. But today’s virtual worlds are not interconnected, and there is nothing to label NFTs themselves as magic wands. As it stands, each platform has to link his NFT to its own digital asset.
virtual fine print
Under our Terms of Service, the NFTs you purchase and the digital goods you receive are rarely exactly the same. NFTs exist on the blockchain. On the other hand, the lands, goods, and characters of the Metaverse are A private server running your own code A secure, inaccessible database.
This means that all visual and functional aspects are digital assets — the very features that give them value — are completely absent from blockchain. These features are fully controlled by the private metaverse platform and are subject to unilateral control.
The terms of service allow the platform to legally remove or even transfer items by unlinking the digital asset from its original NFT identification code. If you do, you do not legally own it. owned or possessed the digital asset itself. Instead, the platform only allows access to digital assets for as long as needed.
For example, one day you own a $200,000 digital painting. Your apartment in the metaverse, and the next day you may find that your painting has been removed from the Metaverse platform and stored in its own database. Strictly speaking, you still own the NFT on the blockchain using the original identification code, but it is functionally useless and has no monetary value.
Recovery of NFTs
While certainly jarring, this is not a far-fetched scenario. It may not be a smart business move for platform companies, but there’s nothing in the law to prevent it.under terms of service When Premium NFT Terms of Service $4 million worth Virtual real estate purchased in The Sandboxthe Metaverse Company, like many other NFTs and Metaverse Platforms, reserves the right to terminate your ability to use or access purchased Digital Assets in its sole discretion.
subjective determination as to whether you interfered with other users’ enjoyment of the Platform, if The Sandbox “reasonably believes” that you engaged in any of the Platform’s prohibited activities; immediately suspend or terminate user accounts, remove NFT images, and provide clarification from its platform. This can be done without notice. responsibility to you.
In fact even the sandbox claim the right In these cases, immediately confiscate any NFTs deemed to have been acquired as a result of the prohibited activity. How to successfully confiscate his blockchain-based NFT is a technical mystery, but it raises further questions about the validity of what is called virtual ownership.
As if these terms weren’t enough, many Metaverse Platforms reserve the right to amend their Terms of Service at any time. Little or no real notificationsThis means that users should always update and reread the terms to avoid engaging in recently prohibited actions that could lead to the deletion of ‘purchased’ assets or the entire account.
Technology alone will not pave the way for true ownership of digital assets in the metaverse. NFT cannot circumvent the centralized control that the Metaverse platform currently has and will continue to do so under contractual terms of service. Finally, Law revision need innovation ahead Metaverse can mature I promise to be