The dark side of the Internet as we know it today goes by the name of the ‘dark web’ - a place where activities remain anonymous and private in an attempt to evade government censorship. The darkverse constitutes the evolution, the next generation of the dark web - a place in the metaverse that’s not indexed or discoverable by mainstream search engines.
Blockchain technology is based on decentralisation principles, giving the end-user power and autonomy. What happens when that user chooses to abuse power afforded to them by the newfound technology? What happens when the beauty and promise of the metaverse turns into the playground of mischief and illegal activity?
Today, we’ll investigate the potential threats of the darkverse, trying to contextualise ideas and hypotheses. Let’s dive right into it.
NFTs are the obvious target
We’ve talked about NFTs ad nauseam in the past few months, and so have we about the potential of crypto scams that have made an appearance in our space. What happens when scam meets NFT, though? The answer is simple - phishing, ransomware, fraud, and other attacks we’ve already seen in the past couple of years. The blueprint is ready and tested, the only difference being that scammers will flip emails for NFTs.
NFTs are becoming a core metaverse commodity used to regulate ownership, and it only makes sense that bad actors would try to create or sell malicious NFTs for their own benefit.
Metaverse real estate: money-laundering paradise?
How many real-estate-related scams have existed in the history of mankind? Countless. This begs the question: if people can be scammed with pieces of property that they can see in real life, how easy would it be to scam them with virtual real estate?
Buying land in the metaverse is no longer an idea or a thought but a reality. Scammers will look to exploit this sector massively. Land you can’t see and can price any way you want? That screams of malicious intent. Money laundering using overpriced metaverse real estate will provide a new outlet for criminals to clean cash.
Propaganda and misinformation
Once again, this is a narrative that exists in the current state of the internet. The freedom of speech and the instant amplification of messaging through social media platforms makes it possible for everyone to create a narrative, story or news that is not fact-checked. With the metaverse being a completely new, decentralised space, the room for this kind of behaviour grows exponentially.
Bad actors can try to influence newcomers, communities and vulnerable groups with information that serves a specific purpose or agenda.
Prohibited goods and drug trafficking
People in the darkverse will use marketplaces as a way to traffic illegal products such as drugs, and guns, by using authentication tokens. Their communications will be concealed and impossible to track and trace. The metaverse infrastructure is such that nobody can enter a marketplace if they do not possess the proper credentials. Even if law enforcement is aware of the existence of these spaces, they will be unable to enter them without suitable tokens.
Once again, the question is whether this newfound freedom afforded by the metaverse can actually be the root of more evil than good.
Should we be scared of what comes next?
The threat of the darkverse is real, and all of the scenarios proposed above have some merit. Here’s a hopeful ‘but’, though. Darkverse is a threat but so was the dark web and so were so many other malicious iterations of technology. What we, as a society, have in our favour, is that we’ve been in this predicament many of times before.
The story of bad actors, illegal activity and taking advantage of an ecosystem is as old as time. Humankind has always found a way to deal with challenges and, if not completely eliminate them, mitigate them to a manageable level. The early days of PCs and laptops saw the rise of anti-virus software, then came encryption, two-factor authentication and many more layers of protection designed to protect us from the aforementioned threats.
What will the new protection layer, process or software shield us from the threats of the darkverse? That remains to be seen, but we’re sure that proactive measures, research and the willingness to make this new breed of technology succeed, will overrule those who want to use it with bad intentions.
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