Many processes and services are transitioning to blockchain technology now. The decentralized nature of the technology and enhanced security allow range range of business models and industries to cut out the middleman and handle transactions more directly.
However one facet of life you wouldn’t think could be impacted by blockchain is marriage officiation.
While it’s true that more people are getting hitched remotely, especially due to the circumstances of lockdowns and social distancing, many are wondering if a metaverse wedding validated by blockchain is legal.
The Particularities of Getting Married in the Metaverse
You might be wondering what wedding in the metaverse entails or what blockchain even has to do with it. The Metaverse is a VR ecosystem where people can participate in events and visit places without ever leaving their seat.
It’s different than a Zoom meeting or event because the nature of VR allows you to experience the space as if you’re actually there. That a great option for people who want to have a destination wedding but can’t afford it, invite guests who are far away and can’t be there in person, or during lockdowns when everyone is stuck in their homes.
Blockchain becomes involved when the technology is used to create NFT rings or create Ethereum smart contracts.
This might sound novel to newbies and downright exciting to technophiles, but the question still remains: “Are such nuptials legally binding?”
The answer is yes and no. In digital parlance, that could translate to “It’s complicated”.
Laws Regarding Remote Nuptials and Blockchain
As of now, it’s legal in most state for a minister to officiate remotely, even if they are using an avatar to represent them. So long as they are legally ordained, most states allow ministers to conduct ceremonies online. However, many states that allow digital wedding ceremonies still require at least one pre-ceremony real-time meeting between officiates and the couple, sans filters, avatars, and other visual or audio distortions.
As for the nuptial couple, there needs to be an IRL (in-real-life) component. That means that the officiate and betrothed couple need to meet face to face in the real world to sign and validate the marriage certificate. Even in states that allow remote ceremonies and digital signatures, the couple must appear at their digital ceremony as themselves, with no alteration or hindrance to their appearance.
This is to prevent fraudulent or illegal nuptials, and it’s another way that blockchain can be used to validate a wedding.
Another requirement in most states, even those who allow digital weddings, is that both the couple and the minister must be physically located in the state that issued the marriage license. They must also present a valid, government issued ID that’s clear and distinguishable via webcam in real time.
Now, those who have their hearts set on a VR wedding with all of the possibilities and fun of the metaverse, it’s still possible to have the best of both worlds. Simply have a private in-person or digital exchange of vows and then have a second ceremony in the virtual space that’s as traditional or wild as you’d like.
This is also a good option for vow renewals, commitment ceremonies, and hybrid weddings. That’s when the couple says their vows in person while their avatars tie the knot in the metaverse.