Posted by An Janssens

The new world of the metaverse offers new and unprecedented opportunities for the economy. A lot of companies, meanwhile, are exploring the possibilities of the metaverse to increase their brand awareness and reach new customers. Consequently, more and more virtual marketplaces are emerging in the metaverse, offering a range of products and services to the public, from virtual real estate to virtual fashion.

The metaverse makes it possible for businesses and consumers to take their customers through virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) into an immersive environment that very much approximates the physical commerce experience. This is the major difference between e-commerce and v-commerce. Where E-commerce is limited to offering goods and services on classic 2D websites, V-commerce, through 3D websites, makes it possible for customers, for example, to visit virtual showrooms, try on products virtually and even try on clothes virtually.

For example, companies such as IKEA and West Elm make it possible for their customers to virtually test out what furniture will look like in their homes. At the clothing company Levi’s, customers can try on different styles of jeans via VR headsets. And also at the makeup company Sephora, customers can use VR headsets to try on different makeup products.

digital interior

These are just a few examples to show how v-commerce is on the rise, and becoming a major business. According to the World Economic Forum, by 2035 the metaverse would account for a market of 489 billion euros in Europe and $760 billion in the USA. Therefore, the economic importance of the metaverse can no longer be underestimated.

Legal questions

But with the emergence of a new economy, various legal questions naturally arise. Since v-commerce transactions often take place across international borders, many legal discussions may arise, especially if it turns out that the regulation of metaverse trade differs from country to country. Consequently, v-commerce raises many new legal challenges, including in the areas of consumer protection (such as ensuring consumers’ rights to information, cancellation, refunds), privacy, intellectual property and dispute resolution.

European regulation

At European level, these problems have already been partly anticipated with the Digital Service Act and the Digital Markets Act. These European regulations must ensure free and safe access to the “Internet” and curb the dominant position of dominant players. For example, the Digital Service Act provides for far-reaching transparency obligations for targeted online marketing based on user profiles and algorithms, and online platforms must clearly know who the actual seller on their platform is (“know your customer”). In turn, the Digital Markets Act provides for measures to enable more competition between the large and smaller online platforms, such as opening up messaging apps, allowing professional providers to offer their products or services on other platforms as well, and fair access to social media, search engines and app stores.

The Digital Service Act and the Digital Markets Act are undoubtedly a step in the right direction, but by no means sufficient to settle all legal issues related to V-commerce. Therefore, we can only call for a Metaverse Act to be provided asap to regulate commerce in the virtual world and provide adequate legal protection for consumers.


#metaverse #digitalserviceact #digitalmarketsact

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