South Korean Government Releases ‘Metaverse Ethical Principals’ Draft to Guide the Market

South Korea’s Ministry of Science and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) has released the first set of ethical principles for the metaverse.

The draft under ‘Expanded Virtual World Ethics Principles’ was released after a joint discussion forum was held on Aug. 26 among 17 stakeholders, including the South Korean government ministries, the private metaverse players, legal advisers, and other related organizations.

The research also promotes public-private partnerships to ethically regulate the sector.

Rules outline property rights and youth protection in the metaverse

The government believes that as the interest skyrockets in the sector, protection of young minds, personal information protection, and copyrights protection were needed to be addressed.

The translated document stated, “The Ministry of Science and ICT will resolve social concerns about the expanded virtual world and expand it in the process of developing, operating, and using the expanded virtual world centered on related ministries and industries so that the potential and scalability of the expanded virtual world as a new growth engine is not limited.”

Citibank researchers project that the global metaverse market will surpass $13 trillion in valuation by 2030. With that, the South Korean government has allocated 223.7 billion won (around $165 million) for the sector as per a previous statement by Minister of Science and ICT, Lim Hyesook, who called metaverse “an uncharted digital continent with indefinite potential.”

However, considering metaverse has also witnessed reports of verbal abuse, racism, and harassment, apart from scams and theft crimes around crypto and NFTs, Aram Moon, the lead researcher of the draft, said, “The draft extended virtual world ethics principles is based on the unique characteristics of the extended virtual world, such as the virtual self, immersion experience, and economic system.” (sic)

New regulations in the South Korean market

The draft also lays down eight principles to preserve ethical values in the metaverse ecosystem, which include, responsibility, inclusion, data protection, fairness, authenticity, autonomy, reciprocity, and respect for privacy. 

Sungkyunkwan University Professor Seungmin Lee, who chaired the meeting of the Ethics Division of the Expanded Virtual World Alliance, said, “Legal and social norms are being discussed to resolve the dysfunction of the expanded virtual world.”

With that, South Korea is also in midst of regulatory changes as new players enter the crypto and metaverse markets. Be[In]Crypto recently noted that seven of the largest brokerages in South Korea have started proceedings that will enable them to open digital currency exchanges in the first half of next year.

Back in May, the newly elected president of South Korea, Yoon Suk-yeol, also voiced his intent to overturn the initial coin offering (ICO) ban in the country. On Aug. 29, the Bank of Korea published a domestic paper on the “European Union Crypto Asset Market Act (MiCA)” and argued in favor of allowing ICOs in the country, as reported by local media.  

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