The metaverse offers many opportunities, but also poses risks. CURENTIS provides an insight into the topic and looks in particular at the threat posed by money launderers in the Metaverse.
The metaverse is currently considered the Internet of the future - a parallel world that never pauses and plays out in real time alongside reality. Users around the world are active, creating an infinite number of design possibilities that gradually drive this virtual world forward. Innovation offers opportunities for change and new perspectives, but there are always challenges to overcome. The growing risk of cybercrime is one such obstacle - money laundering, theft and fraud are just a handful of examples of criminal activity in the metaverse. Is there therefore a potential risk of a development into a Darkverse?
First of all, we need to define what the term metaverse actually means. It is a virtual world of experience in which users can communicate with each other, meet, trade and shop with the help of avatars. It describes an online space that users from all over the world can enter simultaneously. In the long term, the idea aims to establish its own economy, which is filled with content from companies, groups or individuals.
While the metaverse offers many opportunities to gain new experiences and connect with people from around the world, there are also risks that come with it. In particular, there is increased crime with the growing number of users. Data and identity theft, money laundering, money mules, financial fraud and extortion are just a selection of possible crimes committed in this virtual world. Money laundering in particular is made far too easy for criminals in the metaverse, allowing illegally acquired money to be laundered through the platform and disguised as legal money. Perpetrators can convert real assets into metaverse-based assets and sell them to other users. The proceeds of the sale are then converted back into real money, which has a legally generated appearance. Money laundering in the metaverse poses a serious threat, as it allows criminals to disguise their illegal activities and hide their assets. It is also very difficult to detect these activities, as transactions in the metaverse are often conducted anonymously.
The issue of crime in the metaverse is becoming increasingly important, a fact that has already drawn the attention of Interpol, among others. As an international criminal police organization, Interpol is focusing in particular on these new forms of cybercrime and fears an expansion of crimes in this area. This threat is particularly imminent due to the expected further sharp increase in the use of these platforms in the coming years. In order to best prepare itself, the Interpol organization has already created a global police metaverse to provide training and education to its members, giving them the opportunity to deepen their existing knowledge and share it together.
To protect themselves from crime in the metaverse, there are some measures users can take to protect themselves as well as their virtual possessions. First, ensure that online accounts are secure at all times by using strong passwords. Likewise, no personal information should be revealed in the metaverse. In addition, individuals should make sure to only make trades with trusted providers in the metaverse to avoid getting involved in fraud.
In order to curb crime in the metaverse, it is now also necessary to set up measures on the part of governments and companies. The introduction of stricter laws and regulations should ensure better monitoring. The challenge is to implement law and order in the digital world and to determine which authority is responsible for this. This is the only way to avoid a potential darkverse in the future.