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Contemplating the metaverse

Opportunities and risks

Tipped as the next iteration of the internet, the vision of the metaverse is to combine the physical and digital worlds to create a fully immersive experience where users will spend much of their lives. Use cases include everything we use the internet for today and more, with estimates for the target addressable market ranging from $1trn to $13trn: a market with far too much potential to ignore. Yet, the metaverse brings a number of inherent and novel risks to be tackled. Through our Contemplating the metaverse blog series, our teams across practices delve into the opportunities and legal risks companies should be considering.

Smart City

Metaverse series #1: Why should we care about the metaverse? Because it is the next iteration of the internet...

Authors: Jen Calver, Julian Cunningham-Day

The "metaverse" is one of the hottest buzzwords in tech and is essentially the vision of a massive, interconnected network of virtual spaces, that uses technologies such as virtual reality and augmented reality to fully immerse users in a 3D virtual world. While the metaverse is at an early stage of its evolution and the hype is undeniable, we are seeing increasing commentator agreement that the metaverse will be the next iteration of the internet: and as such it is a key topic to explore.

Read the first article in our Metaverse series

girl looking through VR goggles

Metaverse series #3: Looking at metaverse(s) with antitrust (3D) glasses

Authors: Violette Grac-Aubert, Lauren O’Brien

A key parameter of any competition law analysis, is first to identify the relevant market definition. However, to date, there is no firm industry definition, let alone a market definition for the “metaverse sector”. So how will the market come to be defined?

Read the third article in our Metaverse series

digital payments

Metaverse series #5: Payments in the metaverse – what could metaverse money look like and how might it work?

Authors: Jen Calver, Florian Reul, Alex Roberts, Simon Treacy

Whatever form of metaverse ultimately emerges, it will require huge technological developments in terms of network infrastructure, interoperability between platforms and the consumer-interface. What is clear right now, is that forms of payment will be fundamental to “VRcommerce”, which makes the metaverse an important market for all players in the payments space to consider.

Read the fifth article in our Metaverse series

smart city concept

Metaverse series #7: DAOs – decentralisation, collaboration and risk management in the metaverse

Authors: Jen Calver, Maximilian Mann, Mario Pofahl

Even today, Decentralised Autonomous Organisations (DAOs) have assets under management worth billions of dollars. In the metaverse, DAOs may be used to capitalise and manage new metaverse platforms as well as fund and govern collaboration within existing metaverse platforms. These novel types of organisations offer a means to decentralisation, providing greater transparency and transaction certainty while potentially reducing transaction costs. However, whilst some might consider DAOs to be essential pillars of the future metaverse, their decentralised and autonomous nature also raise fundamental legal risks to be managed.

Read the seventh article in our Metaverse series

digital eye

Metaverse series #2: Working in the metaverse – emerging employment issues

Authors: Sinead Casey, Laurie Ollivent

Hybrid and remote working have undoubtedly accelerated the use of virtual working for many workforces and whilst the metaverse might still be in its infancy, employment issues are already starting to emerge. Although this is new ground and the issues will evolve as we find our virtual feet in the metaverse (do avatars even have legs yet?), we consider key employment and HR issues for employers to be mindful of when offering workspaces in the metaverse.

Read the second article in our Metaverse series

doctors looking a digital heart

Metaverse Series #4: IP in the Metaverse - Expanding the reach of intangible rights

Authors: Paul Joseph, Julia Schönbohm, Tom De Coster

As new products and services are introduced into the rapidly expanding metaverse, we look at how IP protection and enforcement strategies will need to be international, pro-active and inventive to keep pace with developments.

Read the fourth article in our Metaverse series

Girl looking through VR goggles

Metaverse series #6: Data in the metaverse – more personal than ever

Authors: Jen Calver, Guillaume Couneson, Manon Habets

The metaverse refers to digital platforms characterised by virtual or augmented reality, decentralisation, A.I. and blockchain-based applications (sometimes also identified as ‘Web 3.0’). User activity - often effected through avatars - has the potential to generate massive amounts of data, much of which could be (highly) personal.

Read the sixth article in our Metaverse series

european commission building with women using VR goggles

Metaverse series #8: Metaverse, beware: Competition law is versatile, and the EU's DMA is ‘future proof’

Authors: Lauren O'Brien, Violette Grac-Aubert, Erasmia Petousi

The European Commission has now entered the metaverse debate with a paper offering an antitrust regulator’s perspective on the metaverse and what it could mean for EU competition law enforcement. European regulators already possess well-tested tools that will apply equally to the metaverse – and the paper agrees.

Read the eighth article in our Metaverse series

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