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China’s Crypto Bans Take a New Turn: Seeking Metaverse Control

China Mobile, the state-owned telecommunications giant in China, has put forth a proposal to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a communications arm of the United Nations, advocating for the establishment of a control mechanism within the Metaverse. This proposal includes the idea of developing a digital identity system for the Metaverse and similar virtual environments, aiming to bolster security.

Despite its 2021 crackdown on cryptocurrencies and mining, China continues to forge ahead in the digital domain. With expectations of the Metaverse’s growth by the end of 2023, the timing for suggesting a digital identity system is pivotal. This recommendation is in line with China’s broader strategy to regulate and oversee various facets of digital and online endeavors, as evidenced by the country’s social credit system implementation.

The proposed digital identity framework would entail gathering user information, providing a means to oversee and regulate activities within the Metaverse and other virtual realms. Nevertheless, this strategy has sparked concerns about user privacy and the potential for surveillance. Critics argue that amassing user data centrally might encroach on individual privacy rights and constrain the Metaverse’s decentralized essence.

China’s suggestion underscores the ongoing global debate on finding the right equilibrium between security and privacy in the digital era, particularly as virtual realities like the Metaverse gain prominence. Crafting rules and regulations for these emerging digital landscapes, while safeguarding individual privacy and freedom, presents a significant challenge ahead.

“The police find it quickly”

China's Crypto Bans Take a New Turn: Seeking Metaverse Control

The proposal presented by China Mobile stressed the necessity of creating a structured and secure environment within the virtual realm. The statement underscored the potential of the Metaverse as a space where individuals could spread baseless rumors and foster unrest.

Through the introduction of the proposed digital identity system, it was argued, law enforcement agencies would gain enhanced capabilities to quickly identify and track down individuals involved in such misconduct.

Similar to the social credit system…

China's Crypto Bans Take a New Turn: Seeking Metaverse Control

China has been prominently recognized for its development of a social credit system in recent years. This system restricts citizens who fail to adhere to specific regulations from engaging in certain activities, such as purchasing airplane and train tickets, among other expenditures.

The proposal made by China to a United Nations group is anticipated to be put to a vote by the ITU, the designated arm of the organization, in October.

An individual who spoke to POLITICO and identified as a member of this group mentioned that China has distinguished itself from the US and EU with its proposals for virtual worlds.

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