The Caribbean nation of Barbados is planning to set up a virtual embassy in the blockchain-based virtual world Decentraland. While the idea of a country setting up an embassy in a virtual world is not new (both Sweden and the Maldives have had embassies in Second Life), this is the first time that a country has set up an official presence in a blockchain-based virtual world, and perhaps a sign of things to come.
According to a recent CoinDesk article written by Andrew Thurman, Decentraland is not the only metaverse platform the country is looking at:
In what could be seen as a historic step toward the legitimization of the metaverse, the island nation of Barbados is preparing to legally declare digital real estate sovereign land with the establishment of a metaverse embassy.
The Barbadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade signed an agreement on Sunday with Decentraland, among the largest and most popular crypto-powered digital worlds, for the establishment of a digital embassy. Per a press release provided to CoinDesk, the government is also finalizing agreements with “Somnium Space, SuperWorld and other Metaverse platforms.”
Both Decentraland and Somnium Space I could see as possible sites for a virtual embassy, but SuperWorld? Really? The last time I looked at the SuperWorld project, back in January, I was less than impressed with the concept. I wonder how much the Barbadian officials understand about the metaverse, if they lumped SuperWorld in with Decentraland and Somnium Space. Let’s hope they are getting good advice!
The CoinDesk article goes on to say:
With the release of the embassy, tentatively scheduled for January, Barbados will become the first country in the world to recognize digital sovereign land. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Ministry of Science and Technology, and many other governmental bodies reviewed the plans over “several, several months,” said [Barbados’ ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, H.E. Gabriel] Abed.
The country has also retained legal counsel, as the embassy will set a number of unique precedents. So far experts have said that the embassy will be compliant with international law as well as the Vienna Convention.
Barbados is among the friendliest countries in the world for cryptocurrencies and has been among those leading the charge on the development of a central bank digital currency.
Thank you to Akumie for the tip!