Just Meta-Married?

Metaverse Married

Could the Metaverse be the future of marriage and the one-stop shop for all government-provided and/or legal services you could possible need? Singapore is definitely on board. 

Looking for a wedding venue? How about the Metaverse? Don’t think the Metaverse is a place where you can get sued? Think again. If you’re ready to fully embrace the new reality that comes with the Metaverse, you’re just in time. Singapore seems to be on the right track. Not only is the nation ready to keep up with South Korea, a major investor in the Metaverse, but even to lead the way. 

South Korea: a Country with a Long-Term Plan 

It seems that Singapore is ready to follow in the footsteps of South Korea, one of its closest economic allies. And no wonder that South Korea is a country that numerous nations around the world look up to for technological innovation. Much like its neighboring Japan, the country is known for its tech-savvy ways. The thriving East Asian nation is, beyond doubt, among the most technologically advanced and digitally connected countries worldwide. 

South Korean government has always been expressing interest in nascent technology openly. But it now seems that the country is taking things one step further. In June, the country announced that it would make considerable investments in diverse Metaverse projects. That South Korea is ready to adopt Metaverse and incorporate it in the daily lives of its citizens is not a surprise, and neither is the fact that the decision may also inspire other developed countries to follow suit. The government has set aside a whopping $177 million to develop a platform that will give citizens easy access to various government services.

How Does Singapore Plan to Metaversify Marriage and Divorce?

As a technologically progressive nation itself, Singapore has issued an exciting announcement, shedding light on the many possibilities that Metaverse may soon open, such as that of a fully integrated platform which would offer important legal services such as marriage and dispute resolution. According to Edwin Tong, Singapore’s Second Minister for Law, this would not rule out the possibility of accessing legal services the traditional, old-fashioned way. On July 20, Mr. Tong took the role of a speaker at the TechLaw Fest 2022, when he stated: “It would not be unthinkable that, besides registration of marriages, other government services can soon be accessed online via the Metaverse.” Coming from such an important public officer, this statement carries a lot of weight. 

A now-famous photograph taken in 1999 captured a freshly divorced couple dividing up their Beanie Baby collection at the Clark County Family Court in Las Vegas, Nevada. So what does the future hold for couples in the same situation? Splitting up their NFT collection? Who knows, but a Californian couple did leverage NFTs for their wedding ceremony in April 2021. Since they both work at crypto exchange Coinbase, the drafted an Ethereum smart contract to issue tokenized “rings”.

Without a doubt, whichever country is the first to put all this in motion would be remembered for what will be a monumental achievement. And the Singapore official may have a point: a virtual dispute resolution may indeed be much more efficient and convenient for everyone involved. One day soon, a wide range of government services, including legal marriage proceedings and court case disputes may soon be available on the Metaverse. 

Metaverse Skeptics and Enthusiasts Clash

For many, it offers a glimpse of a thrilling future. But not everyone shares the sentiment. 

There is so much hype around the topic of metaverse that many feel their skepticism is justified. Skeptics doubt the transformative potential of metaverse and its applications to our world and our daily lives, and opponents find the possible repercussions of Metaverse intimidating.

Historically, humans have always been wary of radical technological change, sometimes rightfully so. It is only natural. And while all things Metaverse, especially news and latest developments, are being industriously circulated and its future potential explored and contemplated endlessly by its enthusiastic proponents, adversaries, overwhelmed with Metaverse apathy, fear, or lack of information, focus on privacy risks, scaremongering about the potential dangers to which Metaverse may expose children, and its potential to drastically change life as we know it. Metaverse illustrates how hype can be counterproductive and lead to confusion instead of achieving its desired effect, especially when considering some practical applications of the Metaverse, including that of Metaverse real estate.

But Singapore is not merely entertaining some remote possibility that Metaverse may bring. The nation is jumping on a bandwagon that is already rolling.

When Did the First Meta-Marriage Officially Take Place?

Let’s rewind. In February 2022, the first meta-marriage took place. Lucky enough to be the first in history to break new ground was a couple from Phoenix, AZ. The couple had already had an actual marriage ceremony, which was lucky since the virtual marriage did not go without a hitch. A 2,000 dearly beloved were virtually present to witness the marriage hosted on the metaverse plartform Decentraland and formalized legally by the law firm Rose Law Group. According to the group’s founder and president Jordan Rose, this the first-ever wedding hosted on any blockchain-based Metaverse. As for the law firm itself? A trailblazer in its own right. 

Aside from being the first in the history of Arizona to be founded by a woman, Rose Law Group is the first law firm nationwide that has readily accepted innovation such as bitcoin and building a strong practice around cyber-defamation. Rose Law Group also happens to be the first full-service law firm with an office in the metaverse. What’s exclusive about the firm’s offering is that it is serving metaverse-based businesses. The company now has a physical presence on Decentraland, a pioneer user-owned virtual world.

In fact, the group developed a “meta-marriage framework” by incorporating a “Virtual Premarital Agreement.” So how exactly does that work? The agreeement simply identified the couple’s virtual identities and digital assets as recorded on the blockchain. 

But not so fast. The meta-marriage certificate is a new concept for Web3. It is not yet admissible as a legal document. However, that may soon change.

What Is the Future Role of AR in Dispute Resolution?

According to Mr. Pong, one thing we picked up from the pandemic is that virtually anything can take place, well, virtually. He highlighted that augmented reality (AR) technology could make a huge difference in the domain of dispute resolution, especially one involving an accident. This could give parties in a dispute resolution process a clear picture of what actually happened at an accident site, be it a construction site or a busy road. 

As an added benefit, Mr. Pong pointed out that Tong stated that adding AR technology would not preclude traditional hearings. In fact, the possible hybrid element that would arise from combing the online and the offline experience may just represent another major benefit that would be difficult to dispute.