It is becoming difficult to read the program of any fair or conference, even the snail festival, without the word “metaverse” in the title of some intervention. An exception is the World Economic Forum in Davos, which just ended: in the list of interventions the words metaverse or web3 are not there. But they haven’t forgotten about it. Indeed quite the opposite. An important announcement of this edition was the creation of a new initiative: “Defining and Building the Metaverse”. This initiative “will focus on two key areas, metaverse governance and economic and societal value creation, and will explore themes across regulatory frameworks, technology choices and economic opportunities”. The aim of the initiative is “brings together key stakeholders to build an economically viable, interoperable, safe and inclusive metaverse.” Ok, everything fine and quite acceptable. But if you give a look at the landing page dedicated to the initiative you read titles like: “How to build an economically viable, inclusive and safe metaverse”; “How to address digital safety in the metaverse”; “New Initiative to Build An Equitable, Interoperable and Safe Metaverse”.
The frequent repetition of the word “safe” seems to give a clear indication: “Ok guys, Metaverse is a serious thing where we are going to make serious money, so we have to kick out all the “pirates” and these hippies ideologists who create anarchy and instability”. This will not happen without a price. If one of the promises of Web3, brought by those hippies, is not to give any more of your data to the next Facebook – or the current Meta. We have to be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. That is to say, in the name of safety and interoperability, to loses those principles of decentralization that give back the control of his own data to the end-users. The challenge is just started.