The Metaverse (simply put, a virtual world) and the technologies that gravitate around it are gaining more and more attention, in particular since the success of the digital concerts hosted on Fortnite during the Covid-19 pandemic, and mostly since Facebook changed its name to Meta in October 2021. Since then, many brands have already started joining the Metaverse ecosystem, such as Microsoft, Google, Nike, Gucci, L’Oréal, Walmart, McDonald’s, or Disney. The Metaverse will most probably impact (or revolutionise) the education, labour, health, advertisement, communications and entertainment sectors, as well as change or create others we do not yet contemplate.
With the Metaverse also arises a vast array of legal questions. How to legally protect our metaverse platform? How to qualify and protect one’s NFT? How to legally transfer virtual real estates? What taxes apply to the purchase and sale of crypto-assets and NFTs (including virtual real estates)? Can we pay our employees with crypto-assets? How can we set up a decentralised autonomous organisation (DAO)? Are we subject to energy-law requirements as miner or exchange? Is the Metaverse platform responsible and liable for the law violations of its users? To what extent are the learnings from Second Life relevant for our legal thinking concerning the Metaverse? How can a Metaverse platform protect the privacy of its users? Can we be criminally responsible for what happens in the Metaverse? What can we do if our platform or crypto-assets have been hacked? Do we need to get approved to deliver our services in Belgium? What requirements do we need to fulfil to launch an Initial Coin Offering (ICO)? Are we subject to any anti-money laundering (AML) obligations? How can we report our crypto-assets and NFT in our accounting documents?
We aim at answering these questions and many more in our upcoming blog posts. Follow us on our social media in order not to miss our first post on the legal challenges of NFTs. If you have any questions, our full-service law firm would be happy to assist you.