In a Feb. 1 interview on CNBC’s “Closing Bell,” Tusk urged U.S. policymakers to “get ahead” of the Metaverse and implement regulations sooner rather than later.
“Typically speaking, our policy has been that we wait for technology to be introduced to gain market fit and traction [before introducing regulation].” However, “It’s very hard to do that retrospectively,” he said.
“We know the Metaverse is coming — it’s already here in some ways. We know it’s got all the problems of the internet, probably times five or ten. So why don’t we think about it now, and get ahead of it?”
He echoed this sentiment in a Mirror blog post uploaded the same day, writing: “The problems we have regulating technology companies now will be reproduced and amplified in the Metaverse. You think policing state-sponsored disinformation is hard on Facebook and Twitter? Wait until you try it in 3-D.”
He also stated that while policymakers are unable to develop specific regulations for the Metaverse until they have a better sense of what’s coming, they should start by looking at cryptocurrency and social media.
How do you think appropriate regulation can be put in place for something that is not yet defined or well understood? I understand the desire to get it “right” but I don’t think regulation is beneficial, especially at this stage. A plan to educate policymakers though, sure.
— Adam Sternbach (@adamsternbach) January 31, 2022
“We can avoid making the same mistakes we did with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and social media generally if we can develop an intellectual framework for regulating the Metaverse now.”
Crypto regulation is becoming an increasingly hot topic in the hallways of the U.S. Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC). According to a Jan. 19 report by Cornerstone Research, the SEC has launched a total of 97 actions against crypto organizations since 2013, 20 of which happened in 2021 alone.
Despite the continued calls from some congresspeople and industry players for a more coherent and consistent regulatory framework when dealing with cryptocurrency, Tusk told CNBC that policymakers’ inaction had left citizens without basic protections.
“We don’t have basic rights about who owns what data, how can we transfer it, how can we take it down. Those are all basic things that I think at this point we have a right to expect our government to handle. And when the Metaverse comes, it’s just going to be that much more extreme.”
Related: US congressman calls for ‘broad, bipartisan consensus’ on important issues of digital asset policy
Tusk was an early investor in Uber, Lemonade, and Coinbase. During 2009, he served as the campaign manager for media oligarch Michael Bloomberg in his bid to be re-elected as the Mayor of New York City. He also has acted as the Deputy Governor of Illinois, an early political advisor to Uber, and the Communications Director for U.S. Senator Check Schumer.