The founder of Ethereum is looking to bring some soul to the world of the blockchain.
Earlier this month, Vitalik Buterin co-authored a paper outlining his vision of a “decentralized society” (DeSoc) in which people accumulate a permanent record of merits and attributes that are stored in private blockchain wallets such as non-exchangeable crypto assets.
The writers call these achievement badges "Soulbound Tokens" (SBTs).
“Imagine a world where most participants have souls [digital wallets] that store SBTs corresponding to a series of affiliations, memberships, and credentials,” the authors write, suggesting that their SBT idea might resemble a web-based CV3 .
"For example, a person may have a soul that stores SBTs that represent titles, employment history, or hashes of their writing or artwork," the newspaper says.
Unlike a non-fungible token (NFT), which is a collectible digital asset that can be traded or sold, SBTs are designed to be non-tradeable, more like a Boy Scout badge than a baseball card.
Note:- Get More Info Your whole identity could soon live in ‘Soulbound tokens’ on web3, Ethereum’s co-founder says.
According to the item, an individual would gain SBT from other souls within the decentralized society. A university, for example, may issue SBTs to its alumni to verify that they have graduated from that school.
To be clear, this also means that SBTs won't really replace NFTs. The two digital assets theoretically perform different functions. While an NFT is designed to be tradable and act as a financial asset, an SBT, Buterin suggests, is meant to serve as a test of character rather than proof of wealth.
But as the authors attest, the proposal entails great dangers.
For starters, it all sounds like China's idea of building a "social credit system" that would supposedly punish citizens for displaying ideological misbehavior. Since SBTs are issued to people without their consent, the system could be used to mark people "scarlet letters," making the technology an ideal tool for authoritarian states.
A society built on SBT could even indirectly reinforce discrimination. An SBT database could provide a marker to "automate the targeting of disadvantaged social groups or even cyber or physical attacks, enforce restrictive immigration policies, or make predatory loans," the authors write.
For this reason, Buterin and his co-authors believe that people might need the ability to "burn" or hide their SBTs from the public, choosing to reveal them only when necessary.