If the Metaverse is to follow Web 2.0, how should it be governed?

"Metaverse", by Mehmet Hocalı, licensed under CC BY 2.0
"Metaverse", by Mehmet Hocalı, licensed under CC BY 2.0


With the continuous innovation of Internet technology, the term Metaverse also follows web 2.0 appears in the internet public’s view; the Metaverse is linked and created by using technology; it is a virtual world mapping and interacting with the real world, a digital living space with a new social system. (Harwick, 2016, pp. 574–578) The Metaverse blends the social interactivity, searchability, and user-generated content of web 2.0. The Metaverse is a vision of the Internet entering the next era (web 3.0) (Liquin & Dogan, 2022). However, should the Metaverse be governed like web2.0? This essay will analyze the ‘security and privacy of the Metaverse’, ‘virtual economy,and real economy” and ” the laws of the Metaverse” to explore how to govern as a “post-reality universe” that integrates “physical reality and digital virtuality, a permanent and durable multi-user environment.”


  • Blockchain and Decentralized 

    “Virtual Universes Landscape” by fredcavazza is  licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.


The core idea of blockchain technology is decentralization, in which the rights and obligations of each node, that is, each participant, are reciprocal in a blockchain system. (Markelevich, 2018). The Metaverse, supported by blockchain technology, is far more intelligent and autonomous than ordinary web platforms (web 2.0). Many actions in the Metaverse operation can be executed automatically through smart contracts. From the permission, tracking, and monitoring of the user’s operation behavior to the punishment of the user’s violation, all can be done automatically by algorithms. (Belk et al., 2022). Blockchain’s unbreakability and invariance are critical attributes for any virtual reality technology to gain widespread adoption (Markelevich, 2018). Hacking and data breaches are common in web 2.0. However, if people are supposed to operate in a fully online and virtual environment, the underlying platform on which they will operate must be secure. So, the Metaverse and the user will be subjected to what kind of hidden dangers and who will protect the security?


Government to the social norms of ethics and ethics and privacy security issues governance

 Constructing the Metaverse is also the process of forming public goods. The state and government are essential subjects in the constructio

“Man playing games with VR goggles” by Twin Peaks is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

n of the Metaverse (Clegg, 2022). In the era of web 2.0, the security and privacy of users are a hidden danger. With the increasing popularity and fidelity of virtual reality applications, the Metaverse threatens users’ privacy in new ways. In the web2.0 era, if users lose passwords, the worst they can do is lose some personal information. Other data can also be protected by re-creating a new password (Jackson, 2011). In the Metaverse, numbers are the only virtual identity of meta-users, and users can display their identity features by creating 3D identity images and usernames. For example, in the basketball game “NBA2k online”, users can create their star characters according to their authentic external images through the face pinching system.

Since biometrics are permanently associated with users, once they are leaked, they will be permanently lost and cannot be undone,  causing users to be in a real dilemma. Therefore, Metaverse’s user security and privacy governance need to be more complex and precise than web2.0, and the mere intervention between platforms is far from enough (Kramer, 2022).



  • How does the Metaverse threaten user privacy

However, when female users experience sexual harassment in virtual reality, they feel the same as they do in the real world. Like virtual violence, the user beats and kills other virtual characters in the super universe game. Painful violent stimuli in highly simulated situations elicit strong emotional responses (Basu, 2021). In November 2021, Meta opened access to its virtual reality social media platform Horizon Worlds, but a female test player was sexually assaulted during the visit. This vicious incident of VR sexual assault caused panic among users in the Metaverse and made people worry about users’privacy in the Metaverse (O’Neill, 2022).

‘Investing In The Metaverse: Cybersecurity & Risks To Consider | Money Mind | Virtual Reality’by CNA Insider. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxTTqBWDvq4



  •  Governance approach

The platform will take most of the blame for the Metaverse’s security issues. However, there are not many constraints in the virtual world, and it will continue to happen if someone hides behind a computer screen to evade moral responsibility. Countries and governments should exercise governance over security and privacy issues with the Metaverse. For example, whether virtual avatars enjoy digital human rights, how the law is applied, and how relevant injuries and impacts should be identified all need to be clarified in jurisprudence (Li & World Economic Forum, 2022).


“MEPs call for virtual currency watchdog to combat money laundering and terrorism” by European Parliament is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.


The Metaverse Economy and the Government’s Legal Restrictions on Virtual Property

  • Virtual economy and real economy

Firstly, society (physical or virtual) needs a functional economy. Whereas in the Metaverse, the economy relies on digital-assets authentication, new economic dynamics in the virtual world are rapidly creating an on-demand economy (Kilzi, 2022). Any company or creator wishing to do business in the Metaverse needs a digital mindset that puts customers first. Digital art, virtual goods, or personal experiences can be converted into secure NFTs and stored as assets in the Metaverse block chain (Newton, 2021). In order to build a self-sufficient digital economy, Metaverse users can exchange these NFTs for cryptocurrencies to buy other Metaverse entities or choose to exchange for legal tender at any time (Fonarov, 2022). However, the 51% attack on ghash.io in 2014 illustrates the insecurity of NFTs, Users’ private virtual assets do not have clear ownership in the metaverse,Therefore, virtual assets continue to grow in the Metaverse. Creation and production, property rights issues also surfaced. In the era of web 2.0, companies or governments usually intervene in the governance of Internet assets/currency. However, in the Metaverse, the crystals created by tens of thousands of users are improperly deprived of the platform. There is no complete governance system to constrain governance, which is also against related to The Metaverse’s independent virtual economic system(Zhang, 2021)


  • Chinese law restricts to virtual currency

    “Bitcoin ban over? China’s President Xi Jinping wants the country to take the leading position in blockchain” by wuestenigel is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Although the Metaverse society does not have an independent and complete legal system, China has legal protection for virtual property. Article 127 of China’s Civil Code recognizes the property rights of virtual property so that the rules of the natural world are used to deal with virtual property. (Zhang, 2021). A Chinese online game player found that the network equipment he owned in the online game “Red Moon” was stolen and lost his virtual assets, and he filed a lawsuit against the game operator. The Beijing Municipal People’s Court accepted the case and believed the infringement was established; it shows that the law effectively protects users in a virtual society. This essay believes that the national government and the law should govern the virtual property of the Metaverse to protect users’ virtual property in the virtual society. The Metaverse breaks away from the concept of freedom of contract and becomes a tool for specific classes to manipulate the game (Chambers, 2011). The government should formulate basic guidelines as the bottom line thinking of arbitrary norms (Lau, 2022).


Antitrust governance of the U.S. government

For the development of the Metaverse Platform, the sunk cost is the irrecoverable cost invested by the company to develop the system. The expected benefit must be greater than the cost of developing and maintaining the Metaverse Platform. Startups t

“dinero facebook” by Esther Vargas is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

hat lack capital will face great difficulty entering the market (Varshney, 2022). Metaverse Industries will become an oligopoly as market share will continue to be squeezed and concentrated in the hands of a few leading technology companies (BLOCKCHAIN CONSULTUS, 2022). On October 28, 2021, the founder of Facebook, Mark Elliot Zuckerberg, officially renamed Facebook to Meta. Zuckerberg announced his intention to build a more extreme version of Facebook, covering social presence, office work, and entertainment in the Metaverse, it is a very tricky thing for the US government. Therefore, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) formally filed a lawsuit against Meta in July 2022 for its acquisition of a virtual reality company called Within (McCabe & Isaac, 2022). Nevertheless, the call to action is the first time a central antitrust agency has recognized the need to consider competition enforcement in the future virtual world. The emergence of the Metaverse and the intensification of the growing popularity of digitization will undoubtedly be closely watched by competition regulators around the world (Copeland & Michl, 2022)


The Metaverse is linked and created by technological means. Through the analysis of various risks in the Metaverse, the Metaverse following web2.0 should start from the transformation of governance methods and the innovation of vital legal systems and realize the transformation from static rules. The transformation of governance to dynamic and responsive governance realizes governance innovations in digital asset protection, algorithm supervision, data security assurance, and user privacy.


Reference list

Basu, T. (2021, December 16). The metaverse has a groping problem already. MIT Technology Review. https://www.technologyreview.com/2021/12/16/1042516/the-metaverse-has-a-groping-problem/

BLOCKCHAIN CONSULTUS. (2022, April 25). Metaverse: an oligopolistic market?https://www.blockchainconsultus.io/metaverse-an-oligopolistic-market/

Chambers, C. (2011). How virtual are virtual economies? An exploration into the legal, social and economic nature of virtual world economies. The Computer Law and Security Report, 27(4), 377–384. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clsr.2011.05.007

Chambers, C. (2011). How virtual are virtual economies? An exploration into the legal, social and economic nature of virtual world economies. Computer Law & Security Review, 27(4), 377–384. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clsr.2011.05.007

Clegg, N. (2022, May 20). Making the metaverse: What it is, how it will be built, and why it matters. Medium. https://nickclegg.medium.com/making-the-metaverse-what-it-is-how-it-will-be-built-and-why-it-matters-3710f7570b04

Copeland, C., & Michl, K. (2022, September 13). Government enters the metaverse. Accenture. https://www.accenture.com/us-en/insightsnew/us-federal-government/technology-vision-2022

Fonarov, O. (2022, March 11). What is the role of nfts in the metaverse? Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2022/03/11/what-is-the-role-of-nfts-in-the-metaverse/?sh=3102e8666bb8

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Lau, P. L. (2022, February 1). The metaverse: Three legal issues we need to address. The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/the-metaverse-three-legal-issues-we-need-to-address-175891

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