Image: Tencent

Tencent has won a patent that relates to the inheritance of digital items and assets after a person passes away. As discovered by video games analyst Daniel Ahmad, the patent, which was originally filed in 2019, appears to be a way for gamers and other owners of digital items and assets to pass them on to loved ones after they die through the use of “digital asset certificates” to ensure that their collections don’t disappear into some sort of void. Tencent appears to be following closely on the heels of Apple, which recently announced a similar service that allows users to assign administrators for managing their digital assets after death.

As we move towards a more digital world, the idea of virtual asset inheritance has become more important among aging netizens who have long standing online / game accounts with many digital items. Tencent has not announced an actual digital inheritance plan just yet though.

Source: Daniel Ahmad

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  1. Hmm…

    This does bring up a good question about the legalities of digital ownership.

    I think, under most ToS / EULAs – you don’t actually own anything “digital” – you own a license for access, and that license, for most companies that I am aware of, is non-transferrable.

    So right now, for most things, when you die – your account just goes *poof*. You can’t leave it in your will to anyone.

    Does this require a patent? No, it just requires a change to standard ToS / EULAs that most companies use, to allow transfer of ownership for digital licenses. But that ~may~ also open up a gray market for “used” digital items – like being able to resell your Steam games after you no longer play them. I’m sure there is a legal way you could word that to only work upon Death – but why?

    Other items, like Facebook accounts and such, are also big question marks after death. What ~should~ happen to your account once you die? I don’t do a lot of social media, so I honestly don’t know the answer to that or have any real inteilligent input, but it’s a good question.

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