Culture

Your Journey to Barbados Could Start in the Metaverse

Barbados to open embassies in the Metaverse.

When Second Life was at its height in the cultural zeitgeist from 2005-2010, several embassies opened their doors in this virtual world: The Maldives, Sweden, Estonia, Albania, Serbia, to name a few. Now that the Metaverse is upon us and virtual worlds like Somnium Space are making great strides, there is renewed interest in establishing sovereign digital land.

According to an article on Coindesk, the Caribbean nation of Barbados is to become the first sovereign nation with an embassy in the Metaverse (apart from the VR embassy of the self-proclaimed Free Republic of Liberland, which opened in Somnium Space back in April 2020).

Most countries have embassies and consulates in far-flung corners of the world. And they all have websites on the Internet. As the Metaverse is considered to be the next iteration of the Internet, it is not too far fetched to see them opening their virtual doors in Metaverse destinations.

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It starts with individuals: Innovators, pioneers and first movers. And as adoption of the Metaverse becomes more widespread, other entities will follow. We already see companies entering Somnium Space and it is only a matter of time before government institutions will follow.

The concept of “sovereign digital land” will have to be explored, but this is currently not on the table. Institutions can purchase (and sell) virtual land like anyone else and build experiences on top of them. Not very different from creating a website for a purchased domain. This doesn’t make the website sovereign territory. Similarly, a domain in the form of a land parcel in a virtual world isn’t sovereign land. It’s merely owned. And in case of Somnium Space, the immutable record of ownership is registered on the blockchain; Ethereum and more recently Solana.

But as we project ourselves deeper and deeper into the digital realm, new ‘nations’ or communities that transcend nation states will arise. And as the virtual realm extends its footprint in our daily lives, these will become more relevant and powerful. We cannot begin to imagine what that means and how it will transform and affect our lives.

We do know that early successes are driving more adoption and that networking effects and the open nature of the platforms will foster quick, compounding, permissionless innovation and create thriving worlds and communities.

Changes are coming, that’s for sure.

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