Barbados, an island nation in the southeastern Caribbean Sea, said it will build the first digital embassy in the virtual land trading platform Decentraland. Doing so also makes Barbados the first sovereign country to recognize the metaverse.

Fast facts

  • According to media reports, the virtual agency will perform as a real-world embassy — “e-consular services” is the core function of the digital embassy — and the agency will issue an “e-visa.” The embassy will open in January.
  • Barbados reportedly intends to establish more embassies in multiple virtual worlds and to finalize agreements with metaverse platforms Somnium Space and SuperWorld.
  • Decentraland is an Ethereum-based virtual reality platform that allows users to trade 90,601 pieces of digital land. The virtual world launched in 2015, and has evolved from a pixelated grid to a 3D virtual world. The price of each piece of digital land has appreciated, in some cases dramatically, from the initial US$20; in June a plot sold for US$913,808.
  • Authorities in some countries have begun to look at the strategic impact of metaverses. South Korea established a Metaverse Alliance in May in which more than 200 companies, including giants such as Samsung, have joined. Japanese authorities issued a report in July on metaverses, recommending that the government consider how legal problems will be resolved in the virtual world and the corresponding impact on the real world, as well as develop and export metaverse-related technical standards. China’s state-backed think tank warns about the metaverse’s threat to national security.