The metaverse has been a buzzword in and out of the Web3 world for the past year. Also, development in the metaverse is something that has held strong relative to the general turmoil of the decentralized space.

It is also a hot topic at the 2023 World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland. The WEF has been developing its own initiative, “Defining and Building the Metaverse”, with the participation of more than 120 participants, for which it held a press conference on January 18.

The WEF panel highlighted the first two documents of the initiative, which cover interoperability, governance and the role of the consumer in the metaverse of the future.

Huda Al Hashimi, one of the panelists and deputy cabinet minister for strategic affairs in the United Arab Emirates, framed the future of the metaverse as a space to break down social barriers and not recreate the same problems.

“We have to ask ourselves why we are still stuck in the domains we want to traverse. We believe there will be a breakthrough.”

Particularly when it comes to government bodies creating their presence in the digital reality, Hashimi says the initiative’s vision has reinvented the role of regulators.

“We also see that regulators will act more like arbitrators than gatekeepers. That code of conduct will actually take precedence over policymaking.”

All over the world, governments have been exploring the metaverse. The United Arab Emirates, in particular, has already launched a government-backed metaverse city in the country as one of its many initiatives into digital reality.

Norwegian government offices have also opened metaverse branches to cater to the generation of users.

Cathay Li, Director of Shaping the Future of Media, Entertainment & Sport and ExCom member at the World Economic Forum in Geneva, said regulations and value creation are two key issues that need to be understood for a digital reality that is beneficial to the users.

“There is tremendous economic and social value in this. But if it’s not regulated, then there could be some issues with privacy and security.”

Li said the metaverse should not be seen as an “end state” for all the work and developments now underway. Rather, it should be seen as an “ongoing digital transformation” of the human experience into digital reality.

In addition to governance ideas, panelists addressed interoperability and user data generation within the metaverse.

Related: Seoul Government Opens City’s Metaverse Project To Public

Siu Yat, co-founder and CEO of Animoca Brands, noted that digital property rights are key to the interoperability needed in the next evolution of the metaverse. He said :

“If you don’t have judicial property rights, then you can have digital freedom: the freedom to transact because you’re always authorized. I think this is the basis for making interoperability win-win.”

All three panelists had a five-year view of the metaverse that is more integrated into most people’s daily lives, along with clearer governance structures. “The metaverse will be a part of our lives whether we like it or not,” Hashimi said.

Yat closed by noting that a metaverse in the near future will also have spawned new economies, which could be national in scale.

“New national economies will emerge from the metaverse, like a virtual society that is real because of all the transaction value and all the commerce that happens in it.”

He particularly emphasized that with stronger digital properties, users will be able to have a stake in these new digital economies. McKinsey recently reported that the metaverse could create $5 trillion in value over the next seven years.

This post Metaverse is not the endgame, but the ‘ongoing digital transformation’: Davos 2023

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