Pluralistic Identities And The Need For Onchain Identity Aggregation
In the modern world, impersonation is a big challenge, which can lead to monetary and reputation loss. To address this, identity verification plays a very important role.
With the development of the Metaverse and other virtual experiences, the challenge is now multifold, where one needs to differentiate between real people and malicious actors.
Let us see how identity works, both in the real and virtual worlds, and how aggregation of credentials can help build a more secure experience.
Identity in the Real World
In the real world, identity is determined by physical documents provided after extensive verification by government agencies, officials, administrators or law enforcement agencies.
Some examples of identity and credentials include passports, driving licences, proof of citizenship, voter ID cards etc.
The challenge here is that these documents can be lost, stolen, forged or modified and used illegally. Additionally, most activities requiring authentication demand physical copies of these identity documents, which becomes cumbersome to carry along.
Other mechanisms of identification include biometrics and OTP/Password based authentication, which are slightly more secure, but not used extensively on a daily basis for general purpose activity.
Identity in the Virtual World
Currently, identities in the virtual world are not bound by any specific rule or regulation, or even guidelines for that matter. Every project or developer in Web2 or Web3 has their own idea and implementation surrounding credential authentication mechanisms.
Some Web3 projects issue NFTs as a proof of identity or ownership, while some others utilize other mechanisms to verify and acknowledge their user accomplishments. In either case, these identities are not collated, secured or standardized for easier access.
Nonetheless, online credentials are essential to prevent misuse of identities online, and to enable selective access to certain features or experiences online. To address this, multiple identity providers have started services on Web3. The single biggest challenge with these operators is that of interoperability, where a user’s online credentials on one platform isn’t compatible with the other.
We believe aggregating these credentials would allow interoperability, thus bringing in better identification and verifiability online.
Transference of Real World Identities Online
As mentioned above, it is imperative to ensure that online identities are secured and somehow linked to real-world credentials, thus increasing credibility of online transactions, be it monetary or non-monetary.
Ultimately, for Web3 and the Metaverse to truly succeed, it is important to bring both the real and the virtual world together, making virtual experiences a mirror of real world experiences — Reality in Virtuality.
But the task does not end there. After bridging credentials across the worlds, it is imperative to ensure safety of these credentials, and ensure that it is not misused by implementing appropriate privacy preserving mechanisms like zero knowledge proof, which can ensure a heightened amount of security.
Pluralism in the Context of Identity
To address the issue of duplicity and enable pluralism, a new concept called Soulbound Tokens or SBT has been proposed. Soul bound tokens are non fungible tokens that are issued to a specific wallet address called soul address. Every unique individual is called a Soul, and these tokens are bound to their Soul wallet. Once issued, these tokens are non-transferable and immutable. This makes it highly secure and ideal for applications like credential provisioning where only the individual provided with the credential should have access to it, without delegation rights.
This helps build a stronger layer of trust for everyone involved in the ecosystem, thus promoting growth and development of Web3 and Onchain tech.
Having onchain identities bodes well for the future of Web3, but for it to be truly successful, these identities would need to either be interoperable or at the very least be visible centrally in an aggregated manner.
So, what do you think? Let us know in the comments below!