EU Consultation Warns on Risk of Big Players Becoming Metaverse Gatekeepers

The European Commission raised the risks to privacy, openness, cybersecurity and equality in online virtual worlds.

AccessTimeIconApr 6, 2023 at 12:48 p.m. UTC
Updated Apr 6, 2023 at 2:42 p.m. UTC
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global event for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now

Online giants could dominate the metaverse, blocking out local companies, the European Commission warned Wednesday in a consultation on its new policy for virtual worlds.

The European Union’s executive arm is set to issue proposals in the coming months, but it likely won’t include a draft bill, said the call for evidence, which is open until May 3.

“There is a risk of having a small number of big players becoming future gatekeepers of virtual worlds, creating market entry barriers and shutting out EU startups and SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises] from this emerging market,” said the draft, echoing earlier fears raised by antitrust officials about potential dominance from web giants like Meta Platforms.

The paper sets out a range of policy issues for what it calls Web 4.0, where physical and virtual worlds interact immersively, using connected smart devices. It cites issues including equality, data privacy, cybersecurity and openness, as well as finance for local businesses.

The EU recently passed a Digital Markets Act to rein in supposed anticompetitive behavior by internet giants such as Meta, Google and Amazon, but the bloc is worried similar trends could occur in later iterations of the internet economy.

Edited by Stephen Alpher.


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

Jack Schickler

Jack Schickler was a CoinDesk reporter focused on crypto regulations, based in Brussels, Belgium. He doesn’t own any crypto.

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to to register and buy your pass now.