S. Balasubramanya, Former Vice-President, Tata Consultancy Services

“Most of us now live two lives, one in our actual world and the other in the virtual. When we die, our physical existence might come to an end, but the virtual presence lingers on”

Introduction – Digital Asset

In a time when most of our daily life has gone digital from socializing, to banking, to ordering pizza —have we thought of what to do with all our digital data and assets on our ‘death’? It is quite normal to expect plethora of digital assets that get created during our modern day life –from emails-ids (Gmail, yahoo-mail, etc.), social media accounts (WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, etc.), various financial accounts for using mobile and internet services (banking, insurance, brokerage, depositories, etc.), commercial trade (Amazon, Flipkart, etc.), Entertainment (BookMyshow, Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc.), government interactions (Income tax, municipal tax, pension, etc.), health data (Hospitals, health authorities like the present COVID-19, etc.), travel (airlines, train-IRCTC, bus, etc.), transport (Ola, Uber, Redbus, IRCTC, etc.) and so on and so forth. In addition to having various accounts, many people could have created digital IP (Intellectual Property) like a book, songs, lyrics, art, blogs, photos, training & education material, and many more. What about real money held in various e-wallets like PayPal, Paytm, Uber, Ola, etc., and crypto currency like Bitcoin. These are the ‘Digital Assets’ created and belonging to individuals operating in the present digital economy and society. The United States Department of Commerce reported from census data that from 2000 to 2010, the percentage of Internet-connected households jumped from 41.5% to 71.5%ii. From domain names to blogs, avatars to social media, this rising tide of Internet use translates into more digital property that can have both financial and sentimental value assets, stored across multiple digital devices, at an average of $55,000 per person. Apart from financial value, some digitally stored assets (photographs, poems, messages, videos, emails, etc.) may have sentimental (rather than financial) value to members, users, or subscribers—as well as their families and friends.

Read more in the Document attached.

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