RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The tiny Caribbean island of Barbados has extended its diplomatic reach into the virtual world Metaverse after signing an agreement with a blockchain-based platform to establish a digital embassy for the first time for sovereign nations.
On Sunday (14), CoinDesk, citing the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, reported that the Barbados government officially signed an agreement to establish a digital embassy on Decentraland, a user-owned Ethereum-based digital environment, .
According to the ministry, the island doesn’t plan to stop its digital expansion. It works out details for similar deals with several other virtual reality platforms, including Somnium Space and SuperWorld.
When officials first approved the metaverse embassy in August, the government called the project “technological diplomacy”. It said it could open doors to greater cultural exchange with other nations.
Established sometime in January, the embassy’s opening will make Barbados the first country in the world to recognize the “digital sovereign land.”
While the initiative is still at an early and somewhat experimental stage, it follows other moves in the cyber realm in recent years, including the creation of an electronic Barbados dollar in 2016.
That concept was spearheaded by the country’s current envoy to the United Arab Emirates, Gabriel Abed, who is also leading efforts to establish the metaverse embassy.
“Embassies are the starting point for getting a visa to enter a country or to travel without a visa – can you imagine what that would look like virtually? And where that e-visa could take you?” said Abed in an interview with CoinDesk.
Combining elements of social networking and virtual reality, the ‘metaverse’ concept has steadily gained popularity and is attracting interest from a who’s who of Big Tech firms.
Last month, Facebook announced it would change its name of the parent company to “Meta”, and would look to expand into the metaverse, while dozens of other firms, including Microsoft, Roblox, and Nvidia, are also looking to develop software and hardware to power the digital world.