You may have wondered about what happens to all of your accounts, platforms and logins after you pass away. This is something that has only very recently become a question and concern, as digital platforms and tech accounts were previously not necessarily an important enough part of daily life to warrant such consideration.
More and more frequently, digital asset inheritance is becoming an important element of our digital lives, and tech companies big and small are taking note. So, what exactly is digital asset inheritance? Keep reading to learn more.
What is digital asset inheritance?
Digital asset inheritance is, thankfully, exactly what it sounds like it is. It relates to what happens to all of the accounts and platforms a person has had access to, after they pass away. This is particularly relevant in conversations about video game accounts on platforms such as Steam and other forms of virtual item inheritance.
Digital assets is a broad term that covers a wide range of different assets. The term can cover everything from electronic records and social media accounts to email, digital photos, financial accounts and everything in between. Our understanding of what constitutes a digital asset and how it might be passed on is still developing and will continue to change as we increasingly transition to a digital culture.
Tech giants make waves in the space
Although digital asset inheritance has been something of minimal concern for years, tech giants are starting to wake up to the importance of creating inheritance channels for digital assets. The massive Chinese tech giant Tencent recently obtained a patent for digital asset inheritance, which relates to digital asset certificates in particular. This means that the patent focuses on digital certificates such as video game licenses.
Apple also launched a similar inheritance service very recently, causing a murmur of speculation about Tencent’s timing. Apple’s service is called Digital Legacy and allows users to set a specific contact, who, in the event of your death, is granted access to your account. The individual is also granted the ability to unlock a particular device that you might have had. Needless to say, you need to choose the individual you grant access to very wisely!
While Apple’s Digital Legacy service may sound similar to using a Steam account, it is actually quite different. Technically, if someone dies, they are not allowed to bequeath to you their Steam library of games. However, although this is officially not allowed by Steam, there is of course nothing to stop players from giving one another their login information in order to access a particular Steam account.
What can digital asset inheritance tell us about how we use technology?
Perhaps more than anything else, the increasing significance of digital asset inheritance is indicative of the fact that more and more of our lives are being spent online, and that economies around the world are making a digital transition. Most of us find that much of our work and many of our tasks are much more convenient when completed on a digital platform.
There has also been a digital migration for pastimes and activities. For example, one sector that has witnessed an impressive transition to digital is the gambling and betting industry. The online casino industry has skyrocketed in popularity and many gamblers are finding that it is much more convenient and just as much fun to gamble from the comfort of their couches, while on the train home from work or in between pints with friends.
Although busy casino floors have a particular charm, gamblers are discovering that live casino games and live dealer options provide the same level of excitement and fun as bustling casino floors but are naturally much more convenient, being on a digital platform.
Looking ahead to the future
No one likes to think about what will happen to them or their assets after they pass away. However, it is still important for everyone to consider how they would like their assets distributed and how their digital accounts and platforms can be dealt with or divided up.
As we all transition more and more to a fully digital economy and more of our lives are played out on digital platforms and in online spaces, it will become increasingly important for everyone to develop a digital legacy plan. In the meantime, however, it is interesting to watch as tech giants grapple with this new challenge and compete for larger pieces of the pie.
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