Yes, gamers will eventually become grandparents, and some already are…but what happens to their (and our) digital stuff when we die?  

 

It is like wallets being stockpiled with cash, but no way of returning them to their owners, for lack of ID

 

If you are a gamer, then generally your in-game assets die with you.  Either that, or your beneficiaries have to have the same gaming interest and the deceased’s passwords…an unlikely situation.  

 

Firstly there is the marketplace to consider:

 

Can we go from an unrecognised value outside a specific market place to being traded for USD, or Euros or…whatever mainstream currency you want?

 

That and more will have to happen for NFT’s to be bequeathable.  

 

Then there is the issues of keeping digital assets safe for use after the owner no longer needs or is no longer able to use them.  

 

Which is fraught with pitfalls.

 

After all we don’t lose passwords, we don’t have accidents, and we don’t die before we have made a will right?  

 

Wrong…of the 21 million that were available to be mined, 4 million, or more than one in five are not going to see the light of day, again.

 

And the size of the marketplace is growing as assets become value and existing trade is just the tip of potential iceberg, with this article indicating a possible value of $32 billion by the end of 2020.

 

Any asset is countable in a divorce.  This is from a respected legal group:

 

With significant figures like these, it is apparent that digital goods and intangible real estate have determinable values outside the gaming community. When virtual assets are included in a couple’s financial portfolio, a good family law attorney can discern whether those assets are divisible as community property in the divorce.

 

So, it is not that solutions do not exist.  Rather that 57% of adults in the UK, for example, do not have a will.  Obviously, that does not prevent their estates being settled, as there are conventions and common law to cover that, but unless they have done an audit trail of accounts and passwords, then in most cases, these assets will go unclaimed.  Which brings us back to the tale of the missing BitCoins.  

 

No doubt there are ways to address keeping digital signatures, and passwords secure.  And there may be people reading this, who can say “simple…just do xyz…”  In which case do let us know.  

 

Understanding the implications for the burgeoning value of digital assets is vital.  

 

Things need to get easier in respect of ingame digital assets and realising their value in the analogue world, whether to exchange for other out of game currencies, which can in turn be converted into fiat monies, or alternatively just sold outright.  

 

Looked at, in another way, there is a cost to producing assets, and for the most part, we have no way of recycling them, or claiming them if their owners can no longer use them.  Built-in obsolescence, enforced redundancy, collateral damage, exploitation, profiteering, benign neglect, and other terms are potential lenses to examine the world of gaming through, and the increasingly vast array of digital assets that are being forcibly, or needlessly abandoned.  

 

If it all seems a bit too much to get our heads around in asking the question “who benefits from the present situation” then we might simply suggest that charities could benefit from the introduction of eco-systems that facilitate the recycling of digital assets?

 

Things do need to change.  For sure.