The META-X Project



Metaverse has changed the nature of societies and economies. It has re-characterised law as it responds to social transactions based on virtual reality. Metaverse has disrupted social order by changing how people interact through their digital identities. Their digital identities impact how they make decisions online, and questions arise on the legal and social implications of such decisions - for example, the validity of metaverse marriages, how to apply the standard common law test of criminal liability (actus reus/mens rea) and assessing the legality of tokens forming part of the estate of an avatar owner.

Metaverse has the potential of creating global disorder, if not regulated and understood. The metaverse has established new marketplaces with globally registered accounts nearing 800 million and revenues approaching USD 1 billion annually. These marketplaces are accessible to countless companies, fraudsters, and other criminals. Metaverse offers governments with the potential to mobilise more revenue, which can be used to improve livelihoods. 

But do we have an idea of the forms of illicit financial flows (IFFs) the metaverse can foster? What about its potential to create new law? Or influence the pathways and streams for international finance and revenue mobilisation for states?

To understand and identify these new legal and social challenges arising from the metaverse, Lyla Latif has designed the META-X Project to engage state actors, private stakeholders, civil society, and academics on the socio-legal and tax related implications of the metaverse capable of causing global (dis)order.

To flag off, a Briefing Paper will be published identifying and explaining the priority areas to be tackled through in-depth case studies. This paper will generate findings that can be relied on by law makers and legislative draftspersons to inform law reform.

Consultation interviews with key stakeholders will be conducted to build a 'Findings Hub' based on which strategic workshops will be designed to generate knowledge, experiences and best practices across jurisdictions.

The knowledge gathered will be disseminated through the publication of research papers and an edited book titled 'Metaverse: The African Characterisation of its Evolving Law and Taxation'.

The reasons for and the impacts of the new forms of global dis(order) arising out of changes in behaviour due to augmented digital identities, transactions and criminality as well as the necessary legal and regulatory framework and institutions needed to support and fight these emerging forms requires extensive study. The objective of the META-X project is to generate research needed for knowledge transfer, policy advocacy, capacity building and training. 

META-X is currently work in progress. It has a global south focus, leaning towards African countries and CFS is open to collaboration with interested stakeholders.

In June 2022, META-X was launched by Lyla Latif in Arusha, Tanzania at the Pan African Lawyers Union Conference. You can download the inaugural presentation below which highlights some of the core legal challenges arising out of the metaverse.