Many would agree that the concept of what defines a nation is changing. Traditionally, a nation has been understood as a sizable assemblage of individuals who share the roots, background, heritage, or dialect of their ancestors and live in the same physical space.
That said, a nation is typically associated with a state that maintains a monopoly on the “legitimate use of force” both externally and internally to ensure its own state’s survival. Consequently, in traditional nations, the state plays a crucial role, directly or indirectly enforcing the rule of law and the property rights of citizens.
However, thanks to the advent of new technologies such as metaverse, NFTs, cryptocurrencies and blockchain, people around the world have realized that living in a purely digital environment may no longer be a concept unique to the realm of science fiction.
How does the concept of a nation develop?
It’s important to remember that a nation that relies on many social structures, including but not limited to currency, religious beliefs, and even large corporations, are all based on the idea of a fictional story or narrative. Societies would therefore be formed on the basis of shared ideas, norms, beliefs and perceptions about reality.
Nations, therefore, despite their lack of physicality, are powerful tools of coordination, enabling large-scale cooperation between individuals, even if these people do not necessarily know each other, but nonetheless have an innate desire to work for the common good of all members of a particular society. In fact, one could argue that it is precisely this concept that distinguishes us from animals.
Furthermore, since there are no tangible products in metaverse, everything is virtual. However, this begs the question of how individuals can ensure that something digital is enduring if it only resides in a centralized database that can be erased with a single click. And then how can property rights to non-permanent objects be enforced without the safeguards of the nation state?
That use of the ‘NFT standard’
The NFT standard allows digital objects to exist in “open metaverses”. This also distinguishes this type of metaverse from “closed metaverses” owned by a central entity. However, the NFT standard in Open Metaverses not only addresses the issue of object permanence as provided by the basic blockchain infrastructure, but also determines and grants ownership rights.
While in physical nation-states asset ownership rights are typically enforced through monopolies or the use of “legitimate” force, in an open metaverse they are implemented through smart contracts executed by a virtual machine. Finally, the NFT standard defines the domain of Open Metaverses. Similar to how web domains work, ownership of digital lands in the metaverse allows publishing rights for anchoring content to those digital places.
Can someone really have a “digital identity”?
Digital identity in the metaverse is characterized by wallet addresses, so each physical person should have numerous addresses depending on their particular needs and desires. Accessing a Metaverse would also typically require users to have a strong internet connection and compatible devices such as VR and AR devices.
In general, an “Open Metaverse” citizen of a digital nation is someone who owns a token stake in such a platform. Tokenized stakes can be fungible tokens that become the driving force of a digital nation’s economy, or non-fungible tokens that symbolize publishing rights on their virtual territory. This type of stake additionally grants governmental rights in digital nations where Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs), the coordination tools of the Open Metaverses, would also play an important role. These DAOs would therefore allow tokenized stakeholders to have a say in how the digital nation would evolve over time as they are community driven.
Being decentralized, DAOs can also be formed in a variety of ways, being direct democracy or oligopoly. It would really all depend on how they are structured and what type of governance voting infrastructure is put in place. In any case, top platforms like that ABOVE Metaverse is actively working to drive mainstream adoption of metaverse and vastly improve user experiences in these digital worlds. Whether it’s starting a digital nation or even doing something as simple as attending a virtual concert or meeting, the Metaverse is indeed here to stay.