Metaverse offers opportunities but is not without risk

The metaverse gives our life a new dimension. There are opportunities, both for consumers and for companies. But as with any new technological revolution, we must not underestimate the risks.

No one knows exactly what the metaverse will look like. In the short term, there are likely to be similarities to modern game worlds. For example, there are products and services available that enrich the user experience. Users can “unlock” them or pay for them over time. In the long term, this augmented and virtual reality will merge with the physical world. This allows us to move freely between different metaverses and real life, taking advantage of both worlds. In essence, a new reality is emerging.

New technology always brings new risks. These risks are still difficult to estimate, but a predictive analysis based on current technologies and developments provides some information. Mimecast experts have tried to identify the biggest risks and challenges, many of which are comparable to real-world risks. A small selection of his predictions.

  • The metaverse will appear to some to be an unregulated environment, given the transnational nature of today’s Internet and the inherent challenges surrounding traditional borders and jurisdictions. Local investigative services may not have the ability to enforce this effectively and will leave the ‘police work’ to the owners of the metaverses. We hope that it will be necessary to form a specialized international police force to counter criminal activity.
  • Each metaverse has its own economy based on users and revenue goals. This is leading to the emergence of new cryptocurrencies, similar to the many national currencies that already exist. These may change over time, for example due to social or cultural developments and the adoption of new trends. Users will expect that content purchased in one metaverse can be transferred to another metaverse (just like their avatars). In these virtual economies, portability and secure exchange houses are required. Your safety is a big challenge. We anticipate significant growth in the demand for exchange houses, but also in the number of attempts by criminals to launder ‘money’ and abuse exchange houses.
  • When selecting a metaverse or provider, users are likely to value interconnectivity, user experience, and non-intrusive security more highly. Good security will almost certainly become something that sets Metaverses apart from the competition. For example, by establishing a strategic partnership with a security group to enable recognition of digital signatures and sticky avatars, so you can quickly and seamlessly travel between metaverses.
  • In online gaming, users are frequently the targets of scams and fraud. Racism, discrimination, and bullying are also common. We hope this is no different in the metaverse. There are currently limited options to counteract this. The victim can make a report to the provider, after which a penalty for violation of the terms of use is delivered. A serious infraction will result in a ban. But nothing prevents these people from creating a new account. A fixed avatar that is biometrically linked to a person in the physical domain can help against this, but it comes at the expense of individual human rights and privacy. Theft of metaverse accounts, their unique access rights or biometric data will become a common crime in the virtual world.
  • These virtual environments are also becoming popular with children, who are familiar with technology from a young age. In most social networks, we see that a minimum age does not prevent children from using these platforms. We expect that protecting children from harm, manipulation, and radicalization will almost certainly become a serious challenge in the metaverse.
  • We estimate that metaverse users are likely to deploy bots and unauthorized AI programs to automate repetitive tasks or actions. In this way, they try to gain time and a possible financial advantage (through rewards in games or bitcoin mining). This can damage the reputation of a metaverse. In online gaming, the use of bots is considered cheating and generates many complaints, but it is difficult to address. We expect opportunistic criminal entities to get involved as technology adoption increases.
  • Some people in the gaming community are not interested in what they see as extensive marketing of games. We estimate that protest actions will arise, for example in the form of hacktivism or violations in virtual reality.

opportunities for it

“More and more users are embracing the metaverse concept, fueled by the global pandemic, the increased use of collaboration tools, and the need for users to escape the physical world.”

More and more users are embracing the metaverse concept, fueled by the global pandemic, the increased use of collaboration tools, and the need for users to escape the physical world. This is a market that can grow explosively, which makes the enthusiasm of the business community understandable. The metaverse is increasingly recognized as a fertile breeding ground for innovation from which all kinds of new markets, products and services emerge. So tech companies want to be a part of the metaverse experience. The established order has an advantage, but there are also great opportunities for disruptive newcomers in these virtual worlds.

All of this poses a challenge to our individual security, and will also require the necessary preparations on the part of security agencies. In addition to the points mentioned, there is still a lot to be done to adequately protect sensitive user data (secure digital passports, personal data, financial data and crypto wallets). The security of all communications applications is becoming increasingly critical in all aspects of our daily lives.

The metaverse will inevitably lead to a transformation of the Internet from Web 2.0 (as we know it today) to Web 3.0. Its success depends on several factors, including the security of this virtual environment, so that everyone can use it safely and without negative consequences. And what about download speeds? Are they tall enough? Will interactive technologies be affordable for the general public?

Yes, in the long run, almost certainly. However, we face complex challenges in the field of data storage and security. Only time will tell how quickly this technology matures and a new augmented reality emerges for all of us. Especially for the new generation of digital natives who are sure to use the metaverse on a daily basis, in all sorts of new and unexpected ways.

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