The Government of Barbados is planning on establishing an "Embassy of Metaverse" for multiplayers.
This morning Andrew Thurman published an article about the Government of Barbados and their plans to establish what is known as the "Embassy of the Metaverse".
Metaverse is a kind of social space for multiplayer in virtual reality; Check out Second Life or Playstation Home - places where virtual people live virtual lives, completely on screen. Proponents say it's like a real-world copy, but better because consumers don't have to follow the laws of physics. For skeptics, this is at worst and anti-utopian at worst: a new framework for digital surveillance and intrusive advertising.
The Barbados Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it had signed an agreement with Decentraland, an existing meta-universe platform based on cryptocurrency, to "outline the key elements for developing its message in the meta-universe". The problem is, it's not clear what this really means. Although the press release acknowledges that "most of the details of [the project] have not been disclosed," it tries to define the "metaverse message" as follows:
"Metaverse Messaging in Barbados will be at the center of activity to foster the growth of closer bilateral relations with governments around the world," the statement said, adding that it was pointless to say that "e-consular services will be a key function". ...along with virtual teleportation to be built at the Metaverse embassy in Barbados and linking all metaworlds as a sign of diplomatic union between technology platforms.
So, the Barbados government went to great lengths to set up their metaverse embassy in more than one cyberspace. Only one deal has so far been signed with Decentraland, but he has promised to set up deals with other companies. But what does the metaverse message look like in practice? And what "e-consular services" can an embassy with a metaverse offer that a real embassy can't? I imagine a government building with a low polygon, in front of which is a pixelated flag.
It's hard to imagine someone seeking asylum from a hostile government in a virtual embassy or consulate - and maybe that's not the goal of a virtual embassy or consulate. The notion of physical space, which is in some ways legally bound to other countries, feels unsuitable for virtual reality, where jurisdiction is not so clearly defined. This project was carried out by HE. led by Gabriel Abed, the current Ambassador of Barbados to the United Arab Emirates who recently turned to public affairs after a long career as a crypto investor and entrepreneur. He is also the founder of a crypto company called Bitt.
Abed said the government plans to issue what is known as an "electronic visa" and the Metaverse embassy in Barbados would in some ways be in line with international law and the Vienna Convention, which defines the rights and protections afforded by consuls and embassies. Is the e-visa for travel in the meta universe or does it apply to the original Barbados? Who needs it and who can get it? It doesn't just have to be blockchain - without clarity, the metaverse message just feels like an empty advertising campaign by government officials involved in the crypto industry.