- South Korea’s Ministry of ICT, Science, and Future Planning has pledged $187 million to create a metaverse ecosystem as the country seeks to take a lead in the new virtual world.
- Experts have continued to express concern about the presence of predators on the metaverse who prey on children and women.
Ever since Mark Zuckerberg announced that he would be focusing on the metaverse and changed Facebook’s name to Meta, the debate has centered around which tech giant will dominate this virtual world. However, South Korea’s latest investment presents a new dimension around which country will dominate the metaverse. The Asian country has pledged $187 million in a national metaverse project as it seeks to foster the growth of the virtual world in one of the world’s biggest crypto hubs.
The Korean Ministry of ICT, Science, and Future Planning pledged 223.7 billion KRW ($186.7 million) to a metaverse ecosystem that will focus on corporate growth, digital content, and more.
In its February 27 announcement, the Ministry revealed that the funds would be going to the “Expanded Virtual World,” an all-encompassing metaverse that will promote the virtual expansion of cities, media ventures, education entities, and more.
In addition to the funding, the Ministry will host community-oriented creative activities, hackathons, and developer contests to attract the best talent to the ecosystem.
According to Park Yungyu, the head of communication and policy development at the Ministry, the initiative is part of the Korean government’s “Digital New Deal” movement, which is designed to promote the growth of digital technologies in a country that has become renowned for its aggressive tech adoption.
It is important to create a world-class Metaverse ecosystem as the starting point to intensively foster a new hyper-connected industry.
Speaking to one news outlet, Simon Kim, the CEO of Korean VC firm Hashed said that he believes the government is right to invest in the metaverse. Currently, private enterprises are investing billions in the sector and it’s only right that the government has a foothold to protect investors, he said. After all, the Korean government regulates other aspects of crypto.
It is the regulatory issue that the government should pay more attention to. In Korea, publishing of NFT games is prohibited, and token issuance is also prohibited.
As the metaverse grows more aggressively, concerns about security continue to crop up. Despite being quite nascent, the metaverse has already been proven to be toxic for women and children. As CNF reported, cases of harassment have been reported globally, with the aggressors being emboldened by the lack of definitive regulations for the virtual space.
The biggest concern is the presence of predators going after young children. Sarah Gardner, the vice president of external affairs at Thorn, a nonprofit that focuses on protecting children from online abuse, pointed out that abusers are always the first on new tech platforms.
They see an environment that is not well protected and does not have clear systems of reporting. They’ll go there first to take advantage of the fact that it is a safe ground for them to abuse or groom kids.