2021 Ends, New Possibilities Open Up For The Cryptocurrency Industry in 2022
To say that 2021 has been an eventful year for the cryptocurrency industry would be an understatement. Whether it was Bitcoin (BTC) experiencing a new ATH (all-time high) price or going through a massive crash thanks to the ban by China's government, to the groundbreaking achievement by El Salvador as it became the first country in history to make BTC legal tender, to &lsquomeme' cryptocurrencies like Dogecoin (DOGE) and Shiba Inu (SHIB) bulldozing their way up the charts in the crypto market, to the still ongoing craze surrounding both NFTs and the metaverse, it is fair to assume that 2021 had many noteworthy developments, to say the least.
With that being said, many in the cryptocurrency community have already begun speculating on what to expect for the industry as 2022 begins, and whether the year will be filled with substantial profits or crushing losses, or perhaps a mixture of both.
The main highlights of what to expect
Even if it is not as exciting as 2021, the new year shall in all likelihood witness significant changes including but not limited to the debut of Ethereum 2.0 and the further development regarding the metaverse. Furthermore, as the sector matures, there will be lots of funds which will be accumulated to finance the continuous creation of new and innovative ideas, as well as plenty of possibilities to become increasingly involved with DeFi. There are also significant real-world elements that will most likely continue to impact the sector, ranging from U.S interest rates to record-breaking inflation to different COVID variations.
Moreover, as far as price action goes, it can often prove difficult to accurately predict the price of any given cryptocurrency simply because there are so many other uncontrollable factors like the recent introduction of the Omicron COVID variant (which disrupted both the crypto and the stock markets). We can therefore anticipate the cryptocurrency market to still experience relative volatility and be largely flat for at least a considerable amount of time this year. On that note, a major downturn on the scale of 2018 is unlikely, but if 2021 is anything to go by, then it is far better to expect the unexpected anyway.
One aspect that some may be happy to hear though is that unlike 2021, celebrities such as Elon Musk will most likely not have the same level of impact in terms of affecting the cryptocurrency market as they did in 2021. Perhaps the most famous example of this was when the Tesla CEO managed to bring DOGE into the top ten cryptocurrencies by market capitalization through sheer hype, endorsement and popularity, which also saw the canine-themed token's price surge to reach a new ATH. Now though, many investors and traders would most likely prefer to do their own research rather than base their portfolios on the advice of someone else or whatever is trending, which is always good to see.
Nowadays, it is becoming increasingly likely that many governments would much rather prefer regulating cryptocurrencies rather than imposing a blanket ban, as had been recently discussed by Senator Cynthia Lummins who is also one of the key advocates for the cryptocurrency industry. Stablecoins such as USDT will also most likely end up being more regulated in the near future.
Ultimately, nobody knows exactly what is going to happen in 2022. Most of the recent developments have been positive however, with MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor continuing to buy more BTC, the U.S government being more open to talking with industry leaders rather than opposing them, and the skyrocketing potential of the metaverse and the P2E (Play To Earn) concept all pointing toward a beneficial year for the sector indeed.
Blockchain game technologies already exist, and there has lately been a surge in societal literacy along with overall acceptance of cryptocurrency assets as well. Some of the more well-known blockchain gaming projects include the likes of The Sandbox (SAND) and Axie Infinity (AXS).
Ripple Closes Out 2021 With ‘Strongest Year To Date’ In Spite of Ongoing Lawsuit
As 2021 draws to a close, many in the cryptocurrency community look back at the year we have had and all the ups and downs that the industry has gone through. Although numerous cryptocurrencies managed to reach new all time highs, it is perhaps Ripple (XRP) that needs to be talked about the most simply because it has managed to record its most successful year yet despite the fact that it is still facing the ongoing lawsuit by the United States SEC.
&lsquoA breakthrough year'
Amid continuing proceedings and seemingly endless legal battles between the SEC and Ripple, XRP has nevertheless witnessed substantial growth internationally, with the price going from below $0.5 in 2020 to reach over $1.5 in just a year's time.
Ripple's CEO, Brad Garlinghouse, stated on December 22nd via Twitter that it had been an entire year since the SEC filed the lawsuit against Ripple, Chris Larsen, and himself, claiming that XRP, which is a well-known publicly traded cryptocurrency, ought to have been registered as a security. Moreover, he reiterated his stance that the lawsuit was not just an attack on Ripple, but on the cryptocurrency industry and market within the United States. He also noted that some had initially accepted the charges made by the SEC at face value followed by the assumption that it had perhaps been a one-time occurrence, however this is not the case anymore.
Regardless of the present legal struggle however, the CEO confirmed that 2021 has been recognized as a breakthrough year for both Ripple as well as the cryptocurrency sector as a whole. Garlinghouse specifically noted that this year was XRP's finest, with RippleNet seeing its best year to date in addition to experiencing massive growth on a global scale. Furthermore, ODL (On-Demand Liquidity) is currently available for payment requirements in more than 20 nations globally. ODL transactions had also surged by a whopping 130% quarter over quarter, making up 25% of accumulated dollar activity during the network's third quarter.
In terms of international expansion, Ripple had also set up shop in Southeast Asia via a partnership with Tranglo in Malaysia and a collaboration with Novatti, an Australian payments company, through which they could participate in the Philippines market.
Cardano experiences similar success
Frederik Gregaard, the CEO of the Cardano Foundation, recently described 2021 as a 'year of enormous growth' during which Cardano and its native token ADA experienced tremendous success, with the price of ADA increasing by about 700% from last year.
Gregaard further stated that this year saw the Cardano protocol undergo gradual growth, community development, technological innovation, and collaborations that aided its progress. The CEO also noted various on-chain events that he believes indicate increased adoption for the foreseeable future.
In the end, one can only hope that the cryptocurrency industry can continue this wave of momentum into 2022 as global regulators, authorities and financial watchdogs consistently try to halt the unprecedented progress of this industry.
Senator Lummis Plans to Introduce Clearer Guidelines in 2022 with New Crypto Bill
As per the latest developments, United States Senator Cynthia Lummis, a major advocate for the cryptocurrency industry and one of Bitcoin's most ardent supporters on Capitol Hill, has announced that she will be pitching some much-needed new ideas and regulatory changes to Congress next year regarding the formation of a cryptocurrency regulatory agency as part of her comprehensive digital asset policy plan.
Lummis, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, desires nothing less than full acceptance of digital assets within the United States. Her future policy would ideally propose federal regulations for stablecoins in addition to consumer protections as well as revised taxation instructions. Moreover, she also wants to introduce a new watchdog in the form of a self-regulatory agency run by the executive branch's swaps and securities regulatory authorities.
A fully &lsquocomprehensive' bill
A lot of today's issues surrounding the cryptocurrency industry revolve around those being regulated at the state level, and numerous crypto enthusiasts have talked at great length about the increasing need for more regulations in order to legitimize the sector, with FTX CEO Sam-Bankman Fried recently mentioning this need to Congress not too long ago.
As such, Lummis had previously stated that she was working on a 'complete' measure for this calendar year. The endeavor comes at a time when Congress is grappling with virtual assets on numerous fronts. Members of Congress questioned prominent cryptocurrency leaders earlier this month in a session that was as much about introducing educational efforts as it was about overseeing the rapidly developing sector.
With that being said, the senator's bill shall reportedly address one of the main complaints that regulators and agencies such as the SEC have had pertaining to securities and how laws centered on them are much too ambiguous to cope with the current state of the cryptocurrency sector and its constant changes. Her recommendations shall hence involve clear instructions to regulators on the various asset types.
A new era for cryptocurrencies and regulations
As the cryptocurrency sector continues its record-breaking wave of momentum (which saw the likes of popular cryptocurrencies such as ADA, ETH and XRP all record amazing spikes in price from last year until now), there is a lot of concern about its future and the role that regulators shall play. Although the doors for healthy debate and discourse continue to open, there are nevertheless those such as China who wish for nothing more than to put an end to this thriving industry.
Whatever the future does hold however, we can only hope that it is positive and that people of influence such as Senator Lummis strive to work in favor of the cryptocurrency space instead of actively against it, as well as continue to tackle contemporary issues from a place of understanding rather than one of contempt.
The Metaverse Will Be The Next Frontier For Gaming
Anyone who has recently paid attention to the world of DeFi would know that when it comes to providing an immersive digital consumer experience, the metaverse is indeed perhaps the next big thing. As such, not only are an increasing number of organizations actively searching for ways to capitalize on the craze surrounding it (which also includes Barbados planning to open up a digital embassy in the metaverse), but numerous gaming industries and P2E (Play To Earn) projects have also become more involved.
There is one problem however, which is that the metaverse as it currently stands is still a bit of a hazy, high-concept idea which has not yet been completely defined or characterized. Some have defined it as a collection of digital experiences, places, and materials that grew in popularity during the ongoing pandemic's 'contactless era' and its corresponding transition in mainstream society. Others, such as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, view it as a virtual world in which individuals may interact with one another. He had thus recently referred to Facebook as a &lsquometaverse corporation', which presumably had a lot to do with its recent rebranding to 'Meta'.
Metaverse and gaming
Gaming has become an extremely popular way to pass the time over the last few decades. Fast forward to today, and you have some of the most realistic games that are built using innovative technologies such as Unreal Engine which provide amazing lifelike graphics and visual effects. Nevertheless, one common issue for gamers worldwide is that there wasn't a mainstream way to earn money through gaming until fairly recently thanks to platforms such as YouTube and Twitch. Now though, gamers are targeting the metaverse.
One of the biggest reasons as to why so many gamers are becoming increasingly attracted toward the metaverse is the existence of P2E projects. It is now possible to play all sorts of games and earn passive income through them simultaneously. This is made possible by purchasing certain NFTs and using them as in-game characters through which completing various missions, quests and objectives will reward the users with the native token of that project, which can then be sold at any supported exchange for real money. Moreover, gamers often feel the need to be a part of different digital worlds where they have control, and what better way to accomplish just that than with the metaverse.
The metaverse's potential is limitless. Every new experience, be it an event, an NFT, or gaining player support, may be duplicated in-game to boost consumer engagement. It doesn't have to be difficult either, as according to Barbara Messing, Roblox's Chief Marketing and People Experience Officer, this is not a static advertisement, as instead it is a terrific method for people to connect with their audience and convey a compelling narrative about their company, business or organization.
Furthermore, according to Matthew Ball, a venture investor and one of the primary futurists promoting the new concept, the metaverse requires new technologies, protocols, firms, breakthroughs, and discoveries in order to grow. He added that there shall hence be no clear indication of a 'Before' and &lsquoAfter' when it comes to the metaverse. Instead, it will quietly develop over time as diverse goods, services and skills integrate and melt together to help create the next iteration of digitalization.
Whatever the case may be, it is becoming abundantly clear that the metaverse has already become a highly discussed topic in 2021. If the gaming industry wants in on this, then reliable technology and a strong community are both essential aspects that must be provided, in addition to the aforementioned P2E concept.
‘Global Policy Ought To Be Prioritized Over A Blanket Ban’, Says IMF Chief Economist
The International Monetary Fund's Chief Economist, Gita Gopinath, recently stated that developing economies must avoid outlawing cryptocurrencies. Instead, she referred to global industrial regulation as a need that must take precedence. She has therefore recommended regulating the industry rather than introducing a complete ban, given the latter's practical problems associated with its real-life implementation.
Gita's comments are in line with the growing sentiment that the cryptocurrency sector has grown so much that a ban may in fact no longer be feasible. As such, numerous regulators and governmental authorities are actively moving towards heightened regulation instead.
&lsquoRegulations to be preferred over a ban'
Arguing for a worldwide strategy, Gita, who will shortly take over as the IMF's deputy managing director, warned that if several nations banned crypto in its entirety, they would lose control over various offshore exchanges which are not subject to the rules of their respective country. This, she added, would then perhaps lead to them being disregarded completely.
Furthermore, Gita explained that there are obstacles to fully banning crypto due to the fact that many exchanges are based overseas, which would make it difficult to implement a ban on a global scale. This once again has to do with the fact that not every nation would be subject to following the same rules of another country or regulatory authority.
The Chief Economist's statements come at a time when governments around the world are debating how to regulate cryptocurrencies. The People's Bank of China for example formally announced a number of new efforts to prevent cryptocurrency adoption within their country back in September, including increased inter-departmental collaboration in suppressing cryptocurrency-oriented activities. More recently, the Russian central bank had officially outlawed mutual funds from being able to invest in Bitcoin (BTC) earlier in December.
Crypto keeps growing
As aforementioned, the cryptocurrency industry continues to grow at an exponential rate. New tokens, protocols and projects are emerging seemingly every other day, and the current market capitalization of Bitcoin is $892,158,622,767.  With such unprecedented growth, many regulators are becoming increasingly worried that if left unchecked, the rapid expansion could have unforeseen consequences. However, many entities believe that this is only the beginning for cryptocurrency's dominance, as companies like Grayscale keep purchasing more BTC.
What Happened When Crypto CEOs Met With Congress?
The CEOs of many prominent cryptocurrency startups travelled to Capitol Hill for a Congressional hearing. The topic of the hearing was reportedly on 'Digital Assets and the Future of Finance: Understanding the Challenges and Benefits of Financial Innovation in the United States', and it was held by the House Financial Services Committee.
Some of the more notable attendees included FTX CEO, Samuel Bankman-Fried. FTX is one of the world's biggest and most active cryptocurrency exchanges. Coinbase Global CFO Alesia Haas, Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire, Paxos CEO Charles Cascarilla, Bitfury CEO Brian Brooks, and Stellar Development CEO Denelle Dixon were all in attendance as well.
What were the main highlights?
Although the CEOs requested customized laws and regulations to respond to the developing cryptocurrency sector, they also warned against severe restrictions which could end up stunting innovation. Stablecoins and how they functioned were also reportedly discussed.
The legislators, led via California Democratic Representative Maxine Waters who acted as the committee's chairperson, asked various technical questions. Representative Waters went on to say that the overall popularity of digital assets such as cryptocurrencies has greatly risen throughout the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic, and that the existence of cryptocurrencies has thus vastly 'contributed to working people searching for viable alternatives so that they can financially recover by investing in numerous cryptocurrency assets'. However, she added, as things stand right now, cryptocurrency markets lack a centralised regulatory framework, making digital asset investments prone to fraud, scams, money-laundering, manipulation, and other kinds of misuse.
Representative Patrick T. McHenry of North Carolina nevertheless stated that his colleagues might not be as tech-savvy as they ought to be in order to effectively design new rules and regulations, after which he then asked as to whether anyone in the current administration is actually knowledgeable enough about cryptocurrencies to create an appropriate regulatory framework or not. He then added that the U.S does not require politicians to hastily regulate and restrict out of anxiety and paranoia rather than attempting to comprehend what this new kind of technology truly is and what it may lead to. This dread of the unknown, he concluded, as well as the push to regulate before knowing, will in all likelihood inhibit American inventiveness and place the country at a competitive disadvantage.
What to expect going forward?
Ultimately, the CEOs agreed that regulation might indeed be beneficial since it would define the role of numerous products and services while minimising any future confrontations between service providers and regulators. Samuel Bankman-Fried in particular stated that regulation is very likely and that it's essential. He added that more regulation would be a healthy development for the sector, if done properly.
In the end, the hearing took place at a time when governments all over the world are deciding whether to follow China's example and entirely prohibit or regulate cryptocurrencies as well as digital assets, or to alternatively allow the embryonic technology to thrive as it has in El Salvador. Other notable developments which occurred included the proposed Token Taxonomy Act, which seeks to define digital tokens as not being securities.
Stark Ware Just Dropped Game Changing Innovation
The cryptocurrency, blockchain and DeFi sector is constantly evolving with the addition of all kinds of new and innovative technologies, projects and protocols. However, there is one that everyone should be keeping an eye on and that is StarkNet.
StarkNet is a decentralized permissionless ZK-Rollup. It runs as an L2 (Layer-2) network over Ethereum (ETH), allowing any dApp (decentralized application) to attain unlimited scale regarding its respective computation, all without jeopardising Ethereum's safety or composability.
What makes StarkNet so special?
One of the most recurring problems within this industry is that of scalability. StarkNet promotes scale while maintaining L1 (Layer-1) Ethereum security via the creation of STARK proofs off-chain, after which it would then subsequently confirm the proofs on-chain. In this way, StarkNet offers composability near the level of Ethereum itself, allowing for simple and straightforward development as well as innovation.
Simply put, through the intuitive usage of StarkNet Contracts, developers will hence be provided with the ability to quickly deploy any business logic on StarkNet. To that end, StarkNet Alpha is now live on the mainnet, through which the developers can take it one step further and implement the aforementioned business logic of preference in a smart contract, after which it would be a simple matter of permissionless deployment on StarkNet.
There are various milestones that StarkNet has already managed to achieve, with numerous more expected to be accomplished before long. As of right now, the smart contracts all support general computation, and they can even interact with one another too, which will reportedly enable further composability. Furthermore, L1 to L2 interoperability has been added, and complete Layer-1 security has been administered via on-chain data (Rollup).
In terms of future goals, the project shall be adding a Solidity to Cairo Compiler as well as StarkNet full nodes soon. There shall also be a wide range of data availability solutions which shall be offered, and a permissionless Sequencer and Prover is in the works too.
Lastly, in terms of its ecosystem, there is a wide array of useful educational resources available (where you can actually learn how to write and deploy your very own StarkNet contract), in addition to all kinds of innovative tools such as StarkNet JS, Devnet, Cairo Docker, Cairo Playground, Voyager Block Explorer, Warp EVM Transpiler, and more. Finally, it has a supportive and active community and the team is also usually quite active on Discord.
Visa Launches Crypto Consulting Service In Bid For Mainstream Dominance
Visa is introducing new advisory and consultancy services to assist its customers in navigating the cryptocurrency sector. Visa has since acknowledged UMB, an American bank, as a client which is already utilising its new advisory services.
The world-renowned payments processor announced this past Wednesday that its crypto-advisory service, contained inside its respective consulting and analytics department, will provide information and guidance to numerous financial institutions, firms, retailers, and various other businesses on topics ranging from implementing cryptocurrency-oriented features to examining NFTs.
Visa to cash in on crypto craze?
The initiative is Visa's newest attempt to expand its presence in the cryptocurrency market and industry. As per Nikola Plecas, Visa's European cryptocurrency head, the organization handled $3.5 billion in digital currency transactions via its cryptocurrency-connected card schemes from October 1st, 2020 to September 30th, 2021.
Nikola went on to say that a sizable portion of large exchanges worldwide have millions or perhaps even tens of millions of active users. He then added that Visa allows customers to spend their cryptocurrencies at more than 80 million merchants. Visa's Cuy Sheffield also called cryptocurrencies &lsquocool' during a recent conference.
The business is also working on solutions for stablecoins, which are virtual tokens pegged to the value of fiat currencies, generally the dollar. Some of the more notable stablecoins include but are not limited to USDT, BUSD, DAI, and USDC. Efforts concerning central bank digital currencies are also reportedly being worked upon.
What's the endgame?
Visa expects that its new consulting services will hopefully aid in the growing mainstream acceptance of cryptocurrencies. The credit card company, like major competitor Mastercard, views cryptocurrencies as a crucial growth prospect as it goes beyond card-based transactions.
Moreover, leading payment networks have experienced greater competition from a slew of new financial companies and businesses within the past few years. Emerging developments like open banking, which intends to provide competing fintechs access to customer bank information as well as payment capabilities, threaten to destabilise their business model.
Meanwhile, huge Internet businesses are putting pressure on Visa. Amazon announced last month that it will no longer accept Visa credit cards in the United Kingdom owing to the company's &lsquoexceedingly high costs'. Additionally, in both Singapore and Australia, the e-commerce behemoth has taken similar action against Visa.
Nonetheless, the future looks promising. According to a recent Visa poll, 94% of Americans are already aware of cryptocurrencies, and nearly one-third admitted to having used the digital assets as either a medium of exchange or an investment.
For Visa, the growing popularity surrounding cryptocurrencies hence represents a significant new sector and massive growth potential, according to Nikola. He concluded that the company shall therefore continue to focus on building this side of the organization even more for the foreseeable future.
Jack Dorsey Rebrands Payments company Square to Block
One of the most shocking events which dominated the headlines both in and outside of the cryptocurrency community was that of Jack Dorsey announced that he will indeed be leaving his position as Twitter CEO behind. However, what is perhaps even more intriguing is the fact that not long afterward, Jack also announced that Square, a financial payments company of which Dorsey is the current CEO, shall be rebranding itself as Block in the near future. SQ shall remain the official stock ticker for now.
Many had since speculated with varying degrees of accuracy that Jack had hence accomplished what he had set out to do back in 2006 with the formation of Twitter and the subsequent revolutionizing of social media as we know it, and is now focusing his efforts on Web 3.0.
Square is Out, Block is In
Dorsey has been obsessed with cryptocurrencies and blockchains, particularly Bitcoin, for several years now. He has extensively pushed for and backed the advancement of the Bitcoin Lightning Network, as well as personally assisted Bitcoin developers through a unit known as 'Square Crypto', which shall also reportedly be rebranded as 'Spiral'.
Furthermore, the enhanced Square's Cash App with Bitcoin capability. In related news, he also implemented Lightning-based tipping on Twitter and guaranteed NFT (non-fungible token) avatar inclusion prior to actually stepping down.
Now though, he plans to develop Square into a full-fledged cryptocurrency as well as blockchain corporation. There isn't much else to say about the name change to 'Block', as not only does this indicate Jack's interest in the cryptocurrency and decentralized finance sector, but it is also is a term used by many in this industry including but not limited to &lsquoBlockchain.com', &lsquoThe Block', &lsquoBlockworks', and many more.
A New Era?
However, Block appears to be understating the seemingly unmistakable crypto-oriented parts of the rebranding. Blockchain was undoubtedly the main inspiration for the rebranding, but it's sandwiched between drivel such as building blocks, neighborhood blocks and their local businesses, music-based block parties, and more.
This is in stark contrast to the other significant name change in the last month when Facebook became &lsquoMeta'. Facebook went all-in on declaring the turnaround, and it has since received a lot of press coverage.
The difference here though is that Facebook was attempting, at least in part, to divert attention away from the legal and regulatory issues that have plagued it. Another problem is that some believe the transition from social media advertising towards something akin to a virtual reality &lsquometaverse' has yet to be supported by concrete goals and technologies.
For Block, however, the sky's the limit and many are eagerly waiting to see what Jack will do next. Needless to say, with a man as capable as Dorsey at the helm and all of his efforts seemingly focused towards DeFi, the potential regarding what Block may be able to accomplish may indeed be limitless.
VanEck To Launch Digital Asset Mining ETF
In recent news, VanEck has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to create an ETF (Exchange Traded Fund) focusing on digital asset mining firms.
The fund shall reportedly invest a minimum of 80% of its accumulated assets in securities of digital asset mining enterprises which produce or have the potential to provide at least half of their income from mining or similar technologies.
Small and medium-capitalization enterprises, as well as international and developing market issuers, may be included in the ETF's holdings. Additionally, it might invest in various depositary receipts as well as foreign currency-denominated securities.
It is worth mentioning however that the ETF will not make direct investments in digital assets and ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings). Moreover, the filing did not include information about the potential ETF's listing date, ticker, or associated costs.
What to expect
Viridi Cleaner Energy Crypto-Mining & Semiconductor ETF (RIGZ), which has risen 45% ever since commencement in July, and Bitwise Crypto Industry Innovators ETF (BITQ), which has risen 26% since its commencement earlier this year, are two other ETFs that are listed in the United States and have significant exposure to cryptocurrency miners.
Moreover, the SEC denied VanEck's proposal to launch a Bitcoin Spot ETF last month. The filing was made public in March. However, it took many months for the commission to dismiss it due to investor protection concerns.
The SEC has a history of delaying Bitcoin ETFs until October when the ProShares Bitcoin strategy ETF became available. The ProShares ETF was based on futures contracts. Furthermore, because of the CME safeguards, Gary Gensler has since indicated more receptivity to it. Nevertheless, the commission has since authorized a number of similar ETFs. One of them came from VanEck in November, although it received significantly less attention on launch day than the ProShares ETF.
VanEck's ETF plan thus seems to offer a creative solution for the SEC's warning about spot crypto ETFs. To some extent, mining businesses' profits are dependent on Bitcoin's price, offering an indirect type of asset exposure.
Barbados To Launch Digital Embassy In The Metaverse
The world as we know it is changing. The metaverse is no longer simply a concept, in fact, it is rapidly transforming into a reality. With that being said, Barbados recently revealed its plans to build a metaverse embassy, taking a huge step toward legitimizing the metaverse concept in the process.
Barbados, therefore, hopes to build a digital embassy through a partnership with Decentraland. The local government is currently in the midst of negotiating collaborations with many top Metaverse platforms and industry leaders. Although there is a lot more work to be done, many believe that this will go a long way towards bringing the idea of the metaverse and its subsequent implementation into the mainstream.
Barbados, if successful, will be the first independent nation in history to have an embassy constructed in the metaverse. The foreign minister of Barbados, Jerome Walcott, stated that Barbados remains optimistic about interacting with the rest of the world via the new digital embassy. The plan had also reportedly been in the works for several months prior to the announcement.
The Times Are Changing
Hot on the heels of Facebook recently rebranding as 'Meta', other various constituents of several sectors such as those pertaining to the blockchain, cryptocurrency, NFT, and social media industries had all begun taking the notion of the metaverse much more seriously.
Now, with the new plans of constructing a digital embassy being announced by Barbados, few can argue against the fact that we are gradually moving towards a new age, one that will in all likelihood be fully digitalized. However, it is worth pointing out that despite the interest in the metaverse, Barbados' government has stated that current affairs in the real world are still going to be prioritized above all else.
Moreover, there is also the issue of how sovereignty will actually work within the metaverse, and how certain things such as the issuance of visas and passports along with the establishment of international treaties will function in a digital realm. Still, although these problems are certainly going to become more common as time progresses, the government's willingness to even consider a move that will include active involvement with the metaverse is indeed noteworthy.
Not Everyone Is On Board
Unsurprisingly, not everyone is supportive of the aforementioned decision to create the digital embassy. Will Gottsegen from CoinDesk recently commented that perhaps not everything should be dependent on blockchain technology and that the idea of a metaverse embassy, while certainly intriguing, is one that may be little more than an empty promise from a politician or official who simply wants to cater to the members of the cryptocurrency and blockchain communities.
Elsewhere, others are worried about how the treatment of property rights will occur within the metaverse. Some have even gone as far as to claim that shifting to a digital realm with little to no laws will in all certainty lead to anarchy and chaos. Some are also concerned about the role that NFTs will play in this as well, in addition to Barbados' government potentially using this opportunity to exploit others via land rights and impose digital control while simultaneously bypassing international rules and regulations in the real world.
Whatever the case may be, it is clear that before the idea of this digital embassy can be fully actualized, plenty of obstacles and challenges will need to be navigated through first. In related news, Barbados also has plans of opening digital embassies with various other providers such as SuperWorld and Somnium Space. Additionally, as per the latest reports, Barbados plans to tentatively launch the embassy by January 2022.
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