Metaverse is one of the hottest buzzwords in technology today. Given its potential impact on both the real and virtual worlds, developments are being made to accommodate this new technology in multiple facets globally. Particularly, countries in Asia are experiencing strong incentives for the initial exploitation of the Metaverse. For example, investments in Thailand relating to the Metaverse are seen both in the public and private sectors. These investments involve many traditional companies, such as the telecom giant Advanced Info Services or Thailand's leading shoemaker Nanyang, and governmental policies such as the recently announced plan in Phuket by the Minister of Tourism and Sports and Minister of Digital Economy and Society.

Thus, not being out of this trend, Vietnam is also pushing for developments in policy changes and businesses. Notably, in recent years the Vietnamese Government has been hard at work pushing for comprehensive digital transformation for the country. Strong initiatives have laid out key milestones in achieving this goal, such as Decision No. 411/QD-TTg, dated March 31st, 2022, on the Approval for the national strategy for the development of digital economy and digital society by 2025 and orientation towards 2030 (“Decision 411”). By 2025, the Government aims to migrate 100 percent of its operation to the cyber environment and to increase the rate of enterprises using e-contracts to over 80 percent.

Vietnam is also seeking to expand its infrastructure to prepare for the vast flow of information in the Metaverse, as evidenced by the effort to engage domestic and foreign telecom enterprises as well as the expansion of Cloud computing infrastructure and Data centers by cloud service providers. Additional worthwhile news is the Ministry of Information and Telecommunications ("MIC") setting up a steering committee to promote the research and development of 6G mobile technology while the country is still in the phase of commercial testing for the 5G network. These technologies are expected to provide highly reliable, high speed, and low latency networks needed for the Metaverse.

With such incentives from the Government, local tech giants and start-ups are investing heavily into the virtual world. Recently, Viettel Group – the largest telecommunications group in Vietnam – has taken its initial steps, through its affiliate, towards developing a Metaverse platform by analyzing the available 5G platform, business models, and technology trends. VinFast, the global electric vehicle brand owned by Vingroup and Vietnam’s largest private conglomerate, launched a collection of NFTs (VinFirst NFTs) as part of the EV reservation process to attract consumers such as Vietnamese customers.

Especially in May 2022, Vietnam Blockchain Association, the country’s first entity in the crypto space, launched in Hanoi to allow blockchain experts to collaborate in promoting the development of Vietnam’s digital economy. Not long after its inception, the Association announced cooperation with Binance - the world's leading corporation in blockchain development technology - on the blockchain research/application in Vietnam. Such cooperation aims to promote the development of blockchain technology in Vietnam and connect it with other major technology corporations worldwide.

Most importantly, a comprehensive legislative reform by amending and promulgating a large number of legal instruments is also a prominent undertaking in virtual technology. In particular:

First, on May 4th, 2022, the MIC released the Draft Law on E-Transaction ("Draft Law") for public comment, which caught a lot of attention from tech businesses. The Draft Law proposes new regulations and requirements for digital signatures, digital identities, and other topics. As transactions in the Metaverse, like online purchases, are made by cryptocurrency or by connecting a digital wallet to a bank account, it is necessary to have advanced digital payment confirmation such as digital signatures, digital identities, e-contracts, etc. The Draft Law provides a more comprehensive legal framework to regulate these issues. In addition, the Draft Law also touches on operators of the Metaverse, such as cloud service providers, app stores, etc. Thus, it is easy to see that the Draft Law will significantly impact the Metaverse in Vietnam once it comes into effect.

Second, several legislations regarding various aspects of the Metaverse's digital and virtual worlds, such as data privacy, cyber security, consumer protection, and intellectual property, are also on the way. These upcoming regulations include the Draft Decree detailing the Law on Cybersecurity ("CSD"); the Draft Decree on Personal Data Protection ("PDPD"); the Draft Decree amending Decree No. 72/2013/ND-CP on the Management, Provision, and Use of Internet Services and Online Information ("Draft Decree 72"); the Draft Amendment of Law on Consumers' Rights Protection ("LCRP"); and the Amended Intellectual Property Law, among others.

Third, it is also worth noting that Vietnamese lawmakers are creating even more draft regulations in technology, such as the Draft Law amending Law on Telecommunication; the Draft Law on Digital Technology Industry; and the Draft Revised Law on Radio Frequency. All of which are expected to be considered and approved in 2023.

Such prompt and comprehensive developments would bring a promising future for the Metaverse in Vietnam. With multiple legislations underway, lawmakers, businesses, and lawyers will be very busy catching up with such a tight legislative agenda. We are pleased to provide you with further updates should there be any new developments relevant to the upcoming legislations on this issue.

Metaverse is one of the hottest buzzwords in technology today. Given its potential impact on both the real and virtual worlds, developments are being made to accommodate this new technology in multiple facets globally. Particularly, countries in Asia are experiencing strong incentives for the initial exploitation of the Metaverse.