What is the Metaverse and how to approach this new digital space? The Digital Commission was due to address this issue in a public hearing on December 15. What was actually intended as an exchange of ideas and information between experts within a live stream has developed differently than expected. In the end, the event mostly exposed the ignorance, ideological narrow-mindedness and reservations of the speakers, who were only too happy to bundle together Metaverse, Facebook, Web 3.0, blockchain technology and Bitcoin ( BTC).
An unbalanced panel of experts with ideological pitfalls
Nine speakers invited as experts presented their own opinions for two hours without entering into a fruitful speech. The panel of experts appointed by the Bundestag included Jürgen Geuter, known for his polemical statements and negative attitude towards Bitcoin. Although the largest cryptocurrency should not be the focus of this hearing, many attendees struggled to differentiate between Web 3.0, Metaverse, Bitcoin, and the crypto NFT economy. The catalog of questions was actually meant to prevent a digression from the main topic, but it didn’t really do that.
Lawyer Markus Büch had a corresponding course of the hearing Twitter predicted in advance and should be fair with his assessment. Thus, the public audience on Web 3.0 and the Metaverse has degenerated into a forum of well-known theses. Almost all the “experts” took the opportunity to make a lot of polemics and little expertise against the Bitcoin front. The key message was that “Bitcoin consumes too much energy, is not decentralized, is only used for speculation, adds no value, and is an expression of radical far-right ideologies,” according to the community summary.
On December 14, 2022, 2 p.m., Web 3.0 and the Metaverse will come to an end (at least in Germany), because @aunt, @MalteEngeler, @LilithWittman and @molly0xFFF express themselves as experts within the digital commission. Will definitely be #bitcoin you have to serve again for the rest. https://t.co/nwVOY7bCTj
— Markus Buch (@markusbuech) November 29, 2022
Solution-focused approaches were actually barely heard by experts. It was an event of skeptics and critics. Malte Engeler, judge at the Administrative Court of Schleswig-Holstein, pointed out that a blockchain-based and property-laden Web3 comes up against fundamental legal, fundamental and data protection issues. A central point of criticism from Engeler’s point of view is the introduction of the category “property” in relation to personal data. According to him, the constitutionally recognized purpose of the right to be forgotten is not compatible with blockchain technology. In the blockchain, contributions can only be added, but not deleted, said the administrative judge.
Jürgen Geuter (Art+Com and Otherwise Network) lived up to his reputation as a cynical opponent of cryptography. As part of the topic, Geuter spoke of “hypercapitalist structures”. He would like to ban crypto-assets completely and said: “…if the goal is to protect end customers in their rights and to create a basis on which businesses can securely trade and invest, cryptocurrencies are toxic active ingredients whose use would ideally be prohibited. ”
Sebastian Klöß (AR/VR & Metaverse, Bitkom eV) at least succeeded in pointing out the opportunities offered by the upcoming developments in the field of Web3.0 and Metaverse. “Back then, very few would have imagined using smartphones the way they do today,” says Klöß. The possible applications and the potential of the Metaverse are enormous, also in view of Metaverse in the industrial sector.
Other panel members saw things differently. As part of the Metaverse, Ludwig Siegele (journalist at The Economist) spoke of a “buzzword” that had migrated across the Atlantic. He warned against taking Meta’s plans “too seriously”.
A summary of the content from the perspective of the Bundestag press service is available on the Internet. The representatives of the participating professional press, however, unanimously judged that the introductory words at the beginning of the live stream were indicative of the whole course of the event: “I would like to get closer”. – “No thanks.”