News & Events
In the Metaverse, What Happens If You Die?
- May 28, 2022
- Posted by: Shubhankar Gola
- Category: News & Updates
Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of Ethereum, the most widely used blockchain, believes he has discovered the next great crypto opportunity. Using “soulbound tokens,” he wants distributed ledgers to let us build and control our identities, both online and offline.
Buterin proposes a cryptographic tool comparable to non-fungible tokens that may be used as a living, transparent, and immutable curriculum vitae in a recently published paper, “Decentralized Society: Finding Web3’s Soul,” co-authored with Flashbots’ Puja Ohlhaver and Microsoft’s Glen Weyl.
This article is an excerpt from CoinDesk’s daily summary of the most important stories in cryptocurrency news, The Node. You can sign up to receive the entire newsletter by clicking here. This piece is also part of the “Metaverse Week” celebration.
NFTs are digital tokens that serve as a form of verifiable identification and market price for other digital material. SBTs have a similar design, but they are unique to one person’s life and cannot be transferred. The concept is to create a blockchain-based credentialing system.
“Imagine a world where the majority of people have Souls that contain SBTs that correspond to a series of affiliation, memberships, and credentials,” the 37-page study report said.
Graduates would receive SBTs as a form of digital diploma from institutions such as universities, or lenders may offer someone a token if they paid off a loan.
The advantage would be having a transparent, non-tamperable record of someone’s accomplishments.
Furthermore, as a crypto asset, these tokens might be integrated into the Web 3’s interoperable environment, possibly opening up a slew of new “use cases.”
They’d also give owners authority over their key documents, which might be a step forward from the existing system, in which credentials are managed by a slew of third parties and our identities are dispersed across the internet.
Last year, Bankless propagandists began propagating the myth that someone’s MetaMask wallet is better than a resume. Because the blockchain keeps track of people’s crypto activities, it could be easier to indicate what tokens you own and what “smart contracts” you’ve used if you want to display firsthand knowledge.
Soulbound tokens work in the same way and might be operative of the year, according to Weyl. He and Buterin also suggested that these assets might play a key role in the upcoming crypto craze cycle by 2024, similar to how ICOs dominated 2017 and NFTs were accepted in the preceding two years.
SBTs do pose certain concerns, aside from a voice brand name. Another crypto news source, The Defiant, said that because you own the keys to your soul’s tokens, there’s a potential you’ll lose your identity forever. You may potentially receive spam credentials from institutions.
The bigger question is whether we want our talents and life-defining associations to be visible at all times. And, if you have a few minutes to spare, it raises some essential questions about where we are online and if we want our internet avatars to be carbon replicas of our physical bodies.
Identity in the digital world
In the metaverse, what happens if you die? A few people started asking that question about the time the company then known as Facebook revealed its metaverse shift.
“If you die in the metaverse, you die in real life,” there was a ready-made response. The sentiment and remark were commonly ascribed to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, with an image of a bug-eyed Zuckerberg accompanying it.
This meme’s roots are unknown, and the internet archival effort Know Your Meme has yet to chronicle them. However, given Facebook’s current societal position and commercial history, the backlash is understandable.
When Facebook’s adoption was rising in the popularity of social media, the firm operated on the premise that digital identity was comparable to real life, and that openness would unite and improve the globe.
In a recent interview with CoinDesk, Wired editor Stephen Levy said, “I sincerely felt that people should give more and that it would be beneficial for his firm as well.” “Facebook: The Inside Story,” written by Levy and published in 2020, stated that the company’s downfall was due to its ambitious desire to “connect the globe.”
For many years, the default setting on Facebook pages was “public.” The company also promoted apps like Beacon, which automatically updated your social media status depending on the setting or what you were doing – all without your permission. Others were able to view your email associated with your Facebook account.
“User privacy was clearly a secondary issue,” Levy added, “and I mention multiple times in the book when Zuckerberg weighed growth and sharing’ over his executives’ objections.” In the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica incident, the business has reversed course and implemented stricter privacy protections.
Digital identity is a strange concept. The people we interact with online are, in many ways, true extensions of our overall experience. In other aspects, though, the internet has a significant impact on how we act and what we choose to do.
Because the effects would be less severe than other experts have predicted, cyberbullying is on the rise.
The technologies and platforms we utilize now are currently mediating our online identities. Twitter isn’t the same as Facebook, and your writing style varies depending on whether you’re sending an email or writing for Medium.
The open metaverse aims to connect all of these digital worlds while also allowing for more lifelike experiences. You’re not just connecting to the internet; you’re in the metaverse. Static digital avatars could move elegantly from place to place in the metaverse if they were governed by ownable assets like NFTs.
Perhaps it is reasonable to claim that if you die in the metaverse, you die in real life because you have created a more persistent and controllable digital self. Because the whole point is to treat your “hyperreal” self as a real person, you lose something valuable.
Although Lubin may not have considered the metaverse when developing SBTs, the tools intend to offer similar capabilities. “To establish provenance and identity, souls can encode the trust structures of the actual economy,” he stated.
It’s all about building real online reputations with SBTs and the metaverse. When message boards go away or pseudonyms are banned from Twitter, people can already experience a sense of loss – and this emotion could be amplified if we effectively incorporate more real-life traits into the digital realm. Permanent personal records, or SBTs, are the pinnacle of this.
It’s still unclear how well we’ll be able to blend the worlds of atoms and bits, but it’s not a bad idea to give digital surroundings and people more weight. Many people on social media have experienced harassment or rudeness. Some of this must be due to the geographical and metaphysical distance between people when they’re online.
Obviously, you will continue to exist as a living, breathing being in the metaverse after you die. Similarly, there are currently endeavors to extend human life using computer techniques.
Above and beyond the human
Buterin is said to hold transhumanist beliefs, which hold that the human condition’s natural constraints can be overcome. With the appropriate medicine and lifestyle, we could be able to live indefinitely. Alternatively, we could continue to exist as a floating mind transmitted to a computer.
“In the real world, legal processes govern what happens to a person’s belongings when they die, but in the metaverse, code is law,” HQ Han, Protocol Labs’ ecosystem growth manager, told CoinDesk. As a result, we require tools to account for inheritance and the recovery of digital assets in the event of death, according to Han.
When it comes to installing permanent digital lives, I’m not sure what’s possible. I’m not sure that’s desirable. But I do know that the digital world is growing more relevant and essential — because people like Buterin continue to push in that direction. At their best, crypto assets allow the digital to be valuable.
So, what happens in the metaverse when we die? “More significant,” Han speculated, “is the assurance that there is anything to leave over in the first place.”