Selling LAND in Decentraland: The Regime of Non-fungible Tokens on the Ethereum Blockchain Under the Digital Content Directive

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


Rewind to the early 1990’s: an infant World Wide Web recently created by Tim Berners-Lee was starting to redefine the way people were connected globally. First came communication services (e.g. e-mail) and a shift from physical to digital marketplaces (e.g. ecommerce). Then came the rise of Internet platforms, in what is now deemed to be Web 2.0. The critics of Web 2.0 claim it is a spoiled version of early Internet promises: freedom from surveillance, online safety (even through anonymity) - in a nutshell, more control and power for the user. The answer to the problems of Web 2.0 is thought to be the third era of the Internet, namely the Decentralized Internet, based on blockchain technology. While a lot of literature has focused on the legal implications of blockchain assets such as cryptocurrencies from a banking perspective, not the same can be said about the consumer protection angle necessary in tackling the hype that has affected users who spent valuable financial resources on investing, playing on or using blockchain-based platforms. This chapter aims to make a contribution to fill this research gap, and focus on Decentraland, a virtual world where LAND, a non-fungible token is traded in order to allow users to build their own spaces on these plots. In doing so, the chapter elaborates on the notion of Internet of Value, and looks at the inner workings of Decentraland from the perspective of European law, more specifically the Digital Content Directive.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDisruptive Technology, Legal Innovation, and the Future of Real Estate
EditorsAmnon Lehavi, Ronit Levine-Schnur
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-52387-9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020

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