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The imposition of the metaverse: challenges and issues

The imposition of the metaverse: challenges and issues

by | 29-10-22 | Corporate taxation

If the metaverse is a real craze for tech companies and multinationals, this virtual world also raises many questions about the applicable legal and tax rules.

What is the metaverse?

The metaverse is presented as a virtual and immersive online world, based in part on blockchain technology. It hosts a community of users in the form of avatars, who can interact with each other in real time, move around, play at the casino, hold a business meeting, attend virtual concerts or conferences, and go to stores where they can buy digital objects in the form of NFT (Non Fungible Token) by paying for their purchases in cryptocurrencies.

Many metaverse universes already exist, among the best known: Second Life, Decentraland, The Sandbox or Horizon Worlds by Meta.

If metavers were initially developed in the field of video games, now all sectors are concerned and many companies are present in this virtual universe. They market accessories for avatars in the form of NFT, buy land, and set up stores, bank branches or virtual law offices.

Les défis juridiques posés par le métavers

Avec l’émergence du métavers et l’augmentation du nombre d’utilisateurs, la question de la régulation de cet univers virtuel devient essentielle et amène à s’interroger, sans pouvoir y apporter une réponse claire et certaine en l’absence de position des États et des organisations internationales, sur :

  • la loi applicable et les juridictions compétentes en cas de litiges,
  • l’intérêt de réglementer ce monde au niveau national ou au niveau international,
  • la possibilité d’adapter les règles existantes en matière de propriété, de droit à l’image, de protection des consommateurs, de poursuites pénales, aux litiges dans le métavers,
  • la nécessité de créer de nouvelles règles spécifiques au métavers,
  • l’attribution d’une personnalité juridique aux avatars,
  • la détermination du régime fiscal applicable au métavers et aux crypto-actifs, etc.

The legal challenges posed by the metaverse

With the emergence of the metaverse and the increase in the number of users, the question of the regulation of this virtual universe becomes essential and leads us to wonder, without being able to give a clear and certain answer in the absence of position of the States and the international organizations, about :

  • the applicable law and the competent jurisdictions in case of disputes,
  • the interest of regulating this world at the national or international level,
  • the possibility of adapting existing rules on property, image rights, consumer protection and criminal prosecution to disputes in the metaverse,
  • the need to create new rules specific to the metaverse,
  • the attribution of a legal personality to avatars,
  • the determination of the tax regime applicable to metavers and crypto-assets, etc.

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Contact the author – Cyril Maucour – Tax Lawyer – AlterTax Avocats

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