NFT: This mysterious acronym was named Word of the Year 2021 by the Collins Dictionary. Even translated, the initials remain difficult for the vast majority to understand. NFT as “non-fungible token”, French non-fungible token. Dark? Decidedly. Before returning to this, a detour through metaverses and cryptocurrencies with, again, some simple definitions is essential.
“Metavers are virtual worlds with their own economy, accessible to a large number of users simultaneously and in an immersive way, in particular thanks to the representations of avatars”, summarizes MAnd Lea Jacquemin. Let’s immediately think of video games, of course, like Fortnite, which has millions of players in France.
“Metavers do not escape harassment: natural persons are behind the avatars”
But metaverses aren’t limited to video games. “There are two types of metaverse, the lawyer specifies, those, like Fortnite or other games, whose universe or rules are diametrically opposed to the real world – you can kill in video games, without risking jail – and those that offer a real- duplicate of the world. This is the case of the Facebook project, which would allow a projection of avatars that can meet, in conditions that are as close as possible to reality, for example having a drink with friends. In these second types of metaverse, they are already sometimes surprising applications are underway: training as a surgeon in virtual reality, for example.
“The Metaverse extends further and further beyond the entertainment world: the more professional the material becomes, the more the limits of its development are pushed back. These metaverses are taken very seriously by the giants of the real economy: Carrefour or Casino have acquired plots of land in the metaverses. And, just like in real life, the law applies, warns MAnd Jacquemin: “The purchase of land is a transaction, with property rights problems. Metaverses do not escape harassment because, behind the avatars, there are natural persons, subjects of law … “
In these metaverses, exchanges are carried out in particular in cryptocurrency. Again, a definition is needed. “It is a fungible virtual digital asset. Fungible means that it can be exchanged for its equivalent: a bitcoin can be exchanged for a bitcoin, just as a euro can be exchanged for another euro “, continues M.And Jacquemin.
In France, none of the more than 5,000 cryptocurrencies circulating around the world are recognized as a currency. Which doesn’t stop them from having value, of course. They are not created by a state, but by communities of Internet users whose members are rewarded by touching a certain number of “tokens”. The law of supply and demand does the rest, which explains the lack of visibility for investors unfamiliar with finance: bitcoin lost 300% of its value in one year, for example, even though its price has tripled in five years.
NFT, tokens that can be exchanged in cryptocurrency or euros
Cryptocurrencies are difficult to sell in real life, unless you buy a Tesla car … On the other hand, they are the preferred means of payment in metaverses. And let’s go back to the famous NFTs, non-fungible tokens, which means that we cannot exchange them for their equivalents. “These are tokens that can be exchanged in cryptocurrency or euros, through platforms that operate the conversion. An NFT is a form of ownership certificate associated with a virtual or physical object, “M definesAnd Costanzo Cuvillier.
Very concretely, rapper Booba has put up for sale 25,000 NFT, for an amount equivalent to 20 euros in cryptocurrency, corresponding to sequences of his latest clip. In two hours, 7,000 fans acquired these NFTs and are therefore “owners” of one of the sequences. And they had the right, in exchange for their investment, to see the clip and to virtually attend the concert of their idol at the Stade de France, which was filmed and broadcast live … For the rapper the operation was very profitable. .
NFTs raise complex legal issues
“Other sectors are interested: there are Panini stickers in the form of NFTs – limited to 9,600. These are no longer labels to stick in albums, they are virtual, specifies MAnd Cuvillier, even if you can print them at home… ”The art market is particularly affected by NFTs. “There is a lot of speculation, explains the Dijon lawyer, but we can also see this as a democratization, the NFTs that allow you to enter the market with a modest sum. Of course, you cannot hang the painting, as you are only purchasing a virtual representation of the work.
These NFTs raise complex legal issues, particularly in possible violations of intellectual property law. To remedy this, he explains, “the Chamber of Judicial Officers in Paris has launched the Legide platform, which offers, alongside the bailiff’s report, the protection of all types of intellectual creations through a marked deposit using blockchain technology. “.
To see more clearly, and before starting, it is best to consult, in the real world, a lawyer who works in this specific area of law.
Metaverses are increasingly extending beyond the realm of entertainment.
M.And Léa Jacquemin, lawyer of the Dijo n Bar
An NFT is a form of ownership certificate associated with a virtual or physical object.
M.And Constance Cuvillier, lawyer of the Dijon bar