- Metaverse companies that set solid codes of conduct will likely attract the most users, CoinFlip’s CEO said.
- Ben Weiss said any new regulations for crypto are unlikely to hold back the growth of the metaverse.
- Tax regulations and other rules that apply in the real world will also apply in virtual worlds, Weiss told Insider.
The metaverse is generating huge excitement, from Wall Street to big brands who see it as the future of the internet and the next big thing.
Yet people at large don’t quite know what to make of the shiny new concept, and aren’t sure what they can expect in its virtual worlds.
It’s early days. But the metaverse company most likely succeed is the one best at setting rules on conduct and policing for a safe virtual environment, according to Ben Weiss.
“You don’t want a metaverse where people are saying racist things, or where people are committing crime, or where people are acting unruly,” Weiss, the CEO of crypto ATM operator CoinFlip, told Insider in a recent interview.
“So the companies that have the best regulations in their metaverse are probably the metaverses people are going to want to join.”
Broadly, the metaverse provides immersive digital worlds where people can use avatars to work, shop, socialize and play games. Some commentators believe it could replace the real world for where people live their lives. Others argue that won’t happen if they need to wear clunky virtual reality or augmented reality headsets.
A battle to prevail in the metaverse is shaping up between crypto-native companies and big techs like Facebook, which has rebranded as Meta. Virtual gaming worlds like Fortnite and Roblox are already huge.
That said, the metaverse is still in an early-adoption phase, and developers are working on the deep tech behind it. Weiss — who believes several virtual worlds are inevitable — thinks the metaverse is possibly a decade away from being commercially viable.
Like most new tech, it’ll first be used by a small fraction of the community before spreading to society as a whole, according to Weiss.
“For the metaverse or for any technology to succeed, you only need a couple percent of people in the beginning,” he said. “You don’t even need the majority of people to even know about it for it to succeed and gain momentum.”
Crypto tech is central to the metaverse, according to Goldman Sachs, as it lets people securely own assets they can freely use across different platforms. But regulators such as the Securities and Exchange Commission are eyeing rules for crypto assets.
Asked about the potential impact of this on metaverse growth, Weiss said rules for virtual worlds won’t be dictated just by governments, but also by the companies themselves.
“The SEC has been looking at crypto more — which we welcome,” the CoinFlip boss said.
“There will probably be regulation in terms of service from the group or the company — whatever metaverse that is — and that goes beyond just crypto: You can’t commit crime in the metaverse. You can’t say hateful things in the metaverse.”
“Just how we have regulations in terms of service when we use products, there’ll likely be that sort of regulation here as well.”
As for transactions, Weiss expects regulations to treat these the same as in the real world. The metaverse operator won’t have any responsibility when you send money to a friend in its virtual world, he believes.
“For instance, if you go into the metaverse and you trade bitcoin, you will have the same exact tax effects than if you did it outside the metaverse,” he said. “Those regulations that are in the real world, to the extent possible, also apply in the metaverse.”
“So I actually think it’s not going to be that difficult to have regulation. If it can happen in the real world, it can happen in the metaverse.”