Digital identity has been a risky topic since the early days of the internet. Web2 bridged the gap between people’s offline lives, online identities, creative habits and consumers, making way for a fully integrated Internet experience designed to be as personalized and targeted as possible. As a new phase of virtual interaction and digital identity appears on the horizon – one more connected than Web2 – we need to rethink personalization and ownership with an eye to what has and has not worked in the world of Web2.
Although there is no blueprint for the action of Web3 identity, we can predict the path digital identity will follow in the metaverse. This path is already taking shape.
All you know, decentralized
Almost all aspects of the Internet as we know it are ready for decentralization. Chat and messaging services are private and encrypted, browsing is incognito, transactions occur between individual bank accounts (albeit with an intermediary) – all signs point to a user-controlled system that meets the needs of the individual, not the collective.
The rise of the internet isn’t the first time we’re seeing this progress either. Radio began as a series of AM stations, then gradually expanded to include FM, then developed satellite capabilities that provided comprehensive access to a variety of stations. Web3 and the way identity works within it are almost related to satellite radio. Therefore, in the history of modern communication systems, the arc is bent towards decentralization.
In this new space, a person’s crypto-wallet will be key to establishing their presence in the metaverse, from serving as a gateway to gaming to helping them create non-fungible token sets (NFTs) to allowing them to do business. Cryptocurrency wallets will be connected to everything that users already do on the Internet and to every online activity that is yet to come.
Related: Web3 is crucial to data supremacy in the metaverse
The future of identity (entity)
People accustomed to traditional markets can feel overwhelmed, intimidated and even deterred by the crypto-proprietary revolution. But it is the means (identification), not the ends (identity), that change.
The encrypted wallet will act for the user as a key to access all virtual domains, real estate, NFT and other properties. If they lose this key, they will have to wait until its expiration date to renew it. However, the wallet will be such an integral part of everyone’s identity on the Internet that it is unlikely that a complete loss will occur, and there are companies that are actively developing solutions to combat such losses.
Identity will not be transferred by itself, but with respect to ownership as well. For example, cryptocurrency wallets will have a role in buying web domains. Third-party administrators such as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) no longer control the ability of users to purchase or issue a TLD, and users will not have to request permission to do so themselves. Newly domain ownership will become permanent; Even subdomains of a previously owned TLD will give the user unlimited ownership of that subdomain.
All this will only be possible with a crypto wallet. With the hype we’ve seen around the metaverse and NFTs, Ethereum and other wallet addresses will be the primary channel for amassing virtual wealth.