Privacy in the metaverse and self-governance in Web3

By Lone Fønss Schrøder, CEO of Concordium
Lone Fønss Schrøder, CEO of Concordium, offers an optimistic overview into the future of cybersecurity requirements and protocals in the metaverse

According to Gartner’s projections, within just three years from now we’ll see “25% of the global population log onto the metaverse for at least an hour a day - be it to shop, work, or socialize.” According to another report, the number of companies working on metaverse-related projects grew from 200 to more than 500 in just a year. A McKinsey study projects the metaverse’s market value to reach $5tn by 2030, just eight years from now.

Sure, right now it still feels like a somewhat far-fetched idea, but the numbers don’t lie. As figures keep growing, along with interest in the metaverse and other Web3 innovations like it, the regulatory landscape overseeing projects of this nature is filled with question marks and challenges. Critics ask, do we trust Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta to build the internet of the future? What user behavioral patterns will be monitored and what biometric data collected? How can we trust Web3 to take care of the blind spots that Web2 - with its hacks, social media pitfalls, dubious privacy claims, and all-powerful governmental powers - couldn’t fix? 

Key predictions for cybersecurity in the metaverse

The next few years will undoubtedly prove critical for determining how the future of the metaverse will take shape, and some things we just won’t be able to fully understand until much later, as some of the technology building out Web3 projects is still being developed, regulated, and put in place. However, what we already do know is that Web3 is poised to act as a much more secure playground for all of us than Web2 ever could. 

Every time you use a Web3 service, your digital assets are and remain your own. Your NFTs are your own. Your PFPs are your own. Your data is your own. Differently from how the big tech companies operate in Web2, whereby user data is exploited to serve greater interests, in Web3 the power is given back to the very people it belongs to. 

Where current social media users have very little say in how, where, and why their personal and private data might be sold or used to and by third parties, in Web3 you can share the primitives you like to or need to share and keep the rest private. Uniquely, with a blockchain like Concordium which presents a built-in self-sovereign ID framework that enables users to easily control the sharing of personal data, you can interact with people and companies whilst keeping your precious identity and your preferences entirely private. No matter what the metaverse ends up looking or feeling like, that is a big jump forward in terms of privacy and accountability. 

This is important because I believe that Web3 technologies and projects will struggle to reach widespread global adoption unless and until users can feel protected by the knowledge that their data is safe. Users need to know that their data serves an economy built on trust and real world utility, not companies and governments’ private interests, and blockchain technology needs to adapt to measure up to this necessity. 

Web3 is built on self-governance and transparency, and Concordium’s immutable blockchain, with its layer 1 identity framework and the ability to easily share only the personal data you are willing to share, provides that very trust that users are desperately seeking.

There’s still a lot of work to be done, that’s undeniable. Ethical, morally sound, practical and compliance-ready legal frameworks need to be put in place before Meta and other metaverse companies are given the green light to open their virtual doors to the world, so to speak, but great care has already been taken, and will continue to be, to ensure the internet of the future is a safer version of the one we know today. One aimed at more self-governance, more trustworthiness, and greater reliability - that is what we should aim for. I believe that Web3 companies with a focus on transparency, accountability, and privacy will be the ones shaping the future of the metaverse and Web3, and those simply seeking to repeat the mistakes of Web2 will soon be forgotten.

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