The Metaverse and NFTs are two technological developments that have garnered immense popularity recently - and they are both interlinked in different ways.
To anyone who is unfamiliar with the term Metaverse - it’s an umbrella term used to describe a virtual reality universe that serves as an interconnection of virtual communities where users can interact and work using the Internet. The Metaverse is often referred to as a product of web3.
Many of the major technology giants have announced their plan for the Metaverse. Probably the biggest such announcement came from Facebook, which recently renamed itself Meta.
Metaverse is often regarded as a product of Web3 or Web 3.0. Web3 is regarded as the future generation of the Internet after Web 1.0 and Web 2.0. Web 1.0 refers to the very first iteration of the Internet (in the 1990s), whereas web 2.0 refers to its current iteration.
Throughout the functioning years of the Internet, privacy has been one of the fundamental elements that have been prioritized by users. However, users are rarely required to perform a strong identity authentication in order to use the Internet.
Nevertheless, there are also times when you want to accrue a reputation or prove things about yourself on the web. It’s in these cases that an avatar is often used.
NFT avatars have taken off and started to become very valuable - If you look at cryptopunk #3100, it was sold for more than USD 19 million(as per the ETH price at the time of writing) to this user. Why? Because it’s a unique avatar, and there's an associated value with it that’s backed by a unique NFT.
Avatars have a potentially crucial role to play in the Metaverse. The recently-published POI Platform Whitepaper has a critical proposal in this regard: “Living Avatar NFTs.”
Living Avatar NFTs are custom-minted NFTs that network participants can use on the POI Platform. Along with being unique visual representations, Living Avatar NFTs also prove certain attributes about a user’s identity that they choose to reveal.
So what applications do Living Avatar NFTs have in a potential future defined by the Metaverse?
The Living Avatar NFT is an idea that combines identity verification with NFTs. POI Platform participants could receive custom-minted NFTs that can be used to make their avatar unique.
However, Living Avatar NFTs are more than just unique avatars. Users can also include more personalized information on these NFTs to make them more unique and exclusive. Hence a participant with a unique Living Avatar NFT on the POI Platform could use it to prove certain attributes about themselves. The proposed idea has the potential to change the way identity is handled on social media and in the Metaverse.
The recent rebranding of Facebook to Meta is just one of the developments that hint at how social media companies believe there is a huge opportunity in the Metaverse.
Facebook is not the only technology giant working on the Metaverse and NFTs. Twitter has recently released a glimpse of an upcoming update that will allow its users to set owned NFTs as a profile photo. NFTs added in this way would also bear a verified checkmark to denote their legitimacy.
The Living Avatar NFTs fit perfectly into this visionary update by Twitter. Living Avatar NFTs allow participants of the POI Platform to display attributes of their identity on the custom-minted NFT. Furthermore, users will have complete control over what data they want the NFT to reveal, ensuring maximum privacy and control over their personal data.
Participants can reveal general identity attributes like nationality or which passport they hold. To make it more interesting and unique, participants could also reveal details like how much BTC/ETH/KEY they hodl. Although it is still in the early stages of development, the whitepaper proposes that these attributes may be revealed using features like red laser eyes.
Shown here is an early prototype of a “Living Avatar NFT."
Inside the SelfKey logo outline is an avatar created by a person. One can verify this fact, but there is also additional information that can be derived from this avatar.
Towards the bottom left corner, one can see additional information about the person. This person has a UK residency and a Hungarian passport. These attributes may also be verified by following the image to the corresponding blockchain address and seeing the related verifiable credentials, which could be anchored on the blockchain.
In addition to this, the user has also added the red laser eyes features, which could signify that they hold a certain amount of BTC and are bullish.
Hence by looking at this avatar, all the above details (resident of the UK, Hungarian passport, and the crypto holdings) can be verified as the data is backed by verifiable credentials on-chain.
Web 3.0 and the Metaverse seem to be an imminent progression of the Internet, and crypto appears to be powering many of these innovations.
However, identity verification mechanisms that respect privacy but accrue reputation have been scarce on the Internet. As Metaverse gains more popularity, the application for such identity verification mechanisms might be critical.
The technology giants who were instrumental in the development of web 2.0 are gearing up for web 3.0 and the Metaverse. With the world slowly realizing the potential of NFTs and how they can ensure the legitimacy of digital content, NFTs will likely play a crucial role in the evolving Metaverse.
With all that in mind, the Living Avatar NFTs proposed for identity verification in the POI Platform have the potential to form the identity layer that will be needed to make interactions of users on the Metaverse credible.
SelfKey’s contributions with Living Avatar NFTs and other innovative proposals mentioned in the POI Platform Whitepaper can hence be pivotal in shaping the Metaverse future.
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