Redefining Metaverse Experiences through Verifiable On-Chain Credentials
Spurred on through innovation in Web3 technologies and multiple use cases, some of the biggest giants from the Web2 and Physical spaces have now forayed into the Metaverse. Brand-led metaverses have become popular, and announcements like the Starbucks Metaverse, Facebook Metaverse and McDonalds Metaverse have caused a lot of excitement (and corresponding sign-ups) among people.
With the growth of the Web3 user base comes the problem of identification. Although decentralized in nature, the economic paradigm of Web3 requires certain checks in place to ensure that there is no misuse of value. To tackle this, robust on-chain identity mechanisms need to be in place.
What is On-Chain Identity
Web3’s soul lies in every user having a unique identifier that can be linked to any data and stored natively on the blockchain. Identity credentials on decentralized ledger that can be easily and publicly searchable is what on-chain identity is all about. This can be achieved on existing blockchains through Web3 wallets, which are unique to every individual.
Why does On-Chain Identity Matter on the Metaverse
- In the absence of physical verifiability like ID proof on the virtual sphere, having a traceable record of credentials becomes extremely important.
- Identity fraud is very easy online as anyone can impersonate anyone else. Availability of voice changer & deepfake softwares makes it even more easier to impersonate someone, and onchain identity can be used to verify the individual.
- With more and more events happening virtually, it is important to identify who the person attending these events is, and how credible they are.
- Land Sales and high-value transactions occur regularly on the metaverse, similar to the physical world. To ensure that a transaction isn’t being done by a fraudulent seller/buyer, mechanisms should be in place to establish and verify identity.
- Certain metaverse experiences such as dating may be age-specific and inappropriate to all audiences. By authenticating age through an immutable on-chain credential, access control (and even compliance in certain cases) becomes easier.
- By verifying on-chain KYC related credentials at the time of financial transactions occurring, projects can stay compliant to KYC and AML provisions that are gaining prominence in many state and federal regulations.
NFTs vs SBTs
To date, NFTs have been used to achieve on-chain access control and feature provisioning. While they are a great boon to the Metaverse ecosystem, NFTs due to their intrinsic nature become irrelevant in the context of identity binding. As NFTs can be easily transferred from one wallet to the other without any restriction, it could lead to misuse of privileges that the NFT grants the holder on the premise that the holder would not share these privileges with others.
SBTs or Soul Bound Tokens solve this issue by binding themselves to a unique wallet address called a Soul. The SBTs once claimed by a Soul Address cannot be moved or transferred, thus becoming a part of that address owner’s virtual identity.
SBTs assume great significance in terms of credential provisioning, such as providing SBTs for tasks done, certifications completed, and qualifications held. As they are publicly viewable, it becomes easier to create an on-chain persona for an individual, thus avoiding duplicity or impersonation.
On-chain identity on the Metaverse assumes great significance in light of its growing popularity. By making Web3 more secure, it instills confidence in an otherwise cautiously approached ecosystem. With more people willing to switch to and adopt Web3 tech, its scope and use case greatly increases, which ultimately stands to benefit the society at large. It will happen — Steadily, but Surely, and innovations such as SBTs would help reach this vision faster.