The Caribbean nation of Barbados has joined with several metaverse firms to establish digital sovereign land, a historic move that signals legitimizing the metaverse. Barbados plans to declare, legally, digital real estate sovereign land by establishing a metaverse embassy.
To this end, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade in Barbados signed an agreement with Decentraland, one of the most popular crypto-powered digital worlds, to establish a digital embassy. According to a press release from CoinDesk, the government in Barbados is also in the process of finalizing similar agreements with Somnium Space, SuperWorld, and other metaverse platforms. Planned projects involve identifying and buying land, developing the architecture for virtual embassies and consulates, creating facilities to provide “e-visas” and other services, and building a “teleporting” facility to allow users to transport their avatars between worlds.
The metaverse can be defined as a 3D virtual-reality space where users may interact with computer-generated environments and other users via avatars, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) devices, and conventional personal computers. The term generally refers to a “virtual” world that is beyond, on top of, or extension of the physical world. The word was coined by science fiction author Neal Stephenson in his 1992 novel, “Snow Crash.” In a limited form, metaverses already exist on platforms like VRChat and in video games like “Second Life.”
According to H.E. Gabriel Abed, the ambassador for Barbados to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Barbados has plans to make aggressive efforts to expand beyond its initial program to build structures and to buy digital land in various virtual worlds. In an interview with CoinDesk, Abed said his country’s willingness to make agreements with multiple metaverse firms is meant to ensure that whatever it builds will be transferable across all metaworlds. While pursuing metaverse diplomacy, Abed is also working on the establishment of the first physical Barbados embassy in the Middle East in an effort to expand its diplomatic missions beyond the 18 currently in operation.
The plans for the metaverse embassy were reviewed over many months by the Barbados Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Science and Technology, and other governmental entities, as well as by legal counsel as the embassy will establish several unique precedents and will have to comply with international laws and the Vienna Convention.
Barbados is known for being one of the friendliest nations in the world for cryptocurrencies. It has also been among the leaders in developing a central bank for digital currency. According to Abed, the embassies will function as a launchpad for more ambitious economic plans in the virtual space.
The metaverse embassy is slated for release in January of 2022, making Barbados the first nation in the world to officially recognize digital sovereign land.
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