The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade in Barbados has inked a historic deal to allow the sale of digital real estate as sovereign land with a Metaverse embassy, reports revealed on Tuesday.
The department inked an agreement with Decentraland, the world’s largest cryptocurrency digital real estate firm, to buy virtual land for the embassy.
In a report from cryptocurrency publication CoinDesk, the Barbadian government revealed plans to finalise its deal with Somnium Space, SuperWorld, and additional Metaverse firms.
So proud today to welcome the Government of Barbados to Decentraland, establishing the world’s first metaverse embassy.https://t.co/Xu5RjAwhv4
— Decentraland (@decentraland) November 15, 2021
According to the report, the massive deal struck in August will launch projects aimed at procuring digital real estate, building the virtual embassies, and providing e-visa and other services along with a “teleporter” feature, allowing users to teleport avatars between the digital spaces.
The sovereign nation plans to open the embassy in January, becoming the first nation the recognise digital sovereign land, the report stated, adding it would also keep legal counsel and comply with international law and the Vienna Convention.
Views on Sovereign Metaverse Embassy
Speaking to CoinDesk, HE Gabriel Abed, Barbados Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, said his country aimed to expand rapidly to build virtual infrastructure and buy digital land.
He explained further, stating,
“The idea is not to pick a winner – the metaverse is still very young and new, and we want to make sure what we build is transferable across the metaworlds”
He continued, stating his country agreed the move will be a novel diplomatic move, adding,
“This is a way for Barbados to expand its diplomatic missions beyond the 18 it currently has with 190+ countries around the world. This allows us to open the door, using technology diplomacy, which then extends to cultural diplomacy – the trade of art, music, and culture”
According to Abed, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs partnered with the Ministry of Science and Technology, among others, to review the plans over “several, several months” to realise the project.
#Barbados is extending its diplomatic outreach via the #Metaverse! 1st sovereign country to do so. A bold, historic & visionary move. https://t.co/x0xh5QASwR via @CoinDesk #Diplomacy #DigitalDiplomacy #TechPlomacy #HybridDiplomacy #GabrielAbed #Abed @SirBitt @meta #AI pic.twitter.com/qgE4BO61zI
— Euripides L Evriviades 🇨🇾🇪🇺 (@eevriviades) November 16, 2021
He concluded embassies could build use cases for further virtual economic activities, stating,
“Embassies are the starting point to getting a visa to enter a country, or visa-free travel. Can you imagine what that would look like virtually? And where that e-visa could lead you?”
The news comes as Barbados expands its support for cryptocurrencies and joins global efforts to develop a national digital currency amid similar moves from China, the European Union, and others.
South Korean Metaverse Initiatives
The developments come amid South Korea’s massive $33.1m push to develop Metaverse infrastructure for its ‘Metaverse Seoul’ project, which it hopes to complete by 2026, it was reported in early November.
The nation plans to allow public workers to communicate with the public on the Metaverse platform with 3D avatars and virtual environments, with initial plans set to debut next year.
Officials in Seoul also announced the new platform would host a mayoral office and other initiatives in the near future, which comes amid a separate initiative to recreate Jeoseon Dynasty historical artefacts.
The developments follow reports South Korea’s Ministry of Science and Information Communications Technology (ICT) would invest around $2.2 billion USD to build hyperconnectivity technologies across the country, adding it would incorporate tools such as the Metaverse, 5G, blockchain, and cloud computing to expand the nation’s “economic territory.”