Literature, cinematography, gaming…what brings all three together? Maybe, it is their origin, as they appeared to emerge from the ornate human consciousness, and this answer is utterly correct. However, the point I am trying to deliver is not so evident. The fact is, the three phenomena tend to lay the foundations of cutting-edge concepts which soon left the papers and became the attributes of the physical world: Jules Verne’s “Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Seas”, which transferred to us the idea of submarine, or George Orwell’s 1984, which is now mistaken for an instruction, but not considered as a prevention. Or “World of Warcraft” — a game, being played by the generations. The logical question would arise in the reader’s mind: but how did it influence the globe?
In WoW, there were the items which were granted only to the most dedicated players, who were defiant enough to defeat the fiercest enemies — soulbounds. The unique part about them is their exclusiveness — simply put, soulbounds can not be sold, exchanged, or thrown away. This interesting element of game design was carved into the mind of one of the shapers of the modern crypto industry — Vitalik Buterin, the creator of Ethereum blockchain and smart-contracts. He was deeply fascinated by the non-transferability of the soulbounds and realised that this feature is too ingenious to remain the in-game item. Consequently, Vitalik coined the soulbound technology — a concept, referring to the record on the blockchain or token, which can not be altered, purchased, or transferred to other users.
Fascinating, but the revolutionary soulbound is just an element (though integral) of the much broader idea — Decentralized Society, or DeSoc, which was also invented by Vitalik Buterin. And this is a whole new story.
“Imagine a world where every person has a digital soul” — sounds pretentious, doesn’t it? Nevertheless, DeSoc core meets such a definition. To be more specific, the idea of Decentralized Society envisages digital wallets called “Souls”, which would in fact be connected with a human personality and store soulbound tokens. And soulbound tokens, accordingly, would represent the crucial attributes of the physical world — credentials, academic documentation, skills, governance rights, etc. — by and large everything, that characterises the personalities bits and pieces. Literally, the digitalised soul. Or, to be exact, several digitalised souls — one could be for the professional skills, another — for the academic qualifications.
Still, the possible usages of Soulbound are countless, however the most pivotal and interesting spheres can be chosen for the beginning.
To begin with, the soulbound technology can be implemented in the academic structures, as we mentioned above. Diplomas, disciplines’ scores, and even the pieces of scholaring — all layers of the educational realm can benefit from integrating the non-transferability and uniqueness proof in them. With DeSoc, it would be much easier to verify the authenticity of academic documentation and its total credibility according to the educational results — which can also be represented via soulbound.
As a matter of fact, the described principle can be applied to every sphere which operates the enormous document flow and faces the issues with its cumbersomeness. Namely, the medical data can be stored in soulbound, as well as the genuine working experience and qualifications. What is more, the certain governance commitments and responsibilities can become more clarified in the state bodies’ function.
Still, the possibility of using soulbound in KYC and personality verification processes remain the most tangible alongside with the enhancement of Web3 technologies. The latter vector remains the most popular in this day and age. Case in point: recently one of the largest European cryptocurrency exchanges WhiteBIT amid its Network’s Testnet announced their own soulbound — WB Soul Ecosystem— as a novelty and pivotal requirement for participating in their blockchain’s retrodrop. According to their blog, they developed the Soul Attributes to define variables (for instance, balance of the wallet) and non-changeable soulbound tokens (SBT) to represent the exclusive items — rewards, achievements, or event passes. What is more, it is also promised to detect the KYC status to prevent the risks of multi-accounts and other manipulations. It is important to note that WB Soul is also an enhancement for their Web3 ecosystem and a great addition to its Web3 deposit.
Additionally, soulbound could become a great contribution to levelling the problems with Decentralized Autonomous Organisations (DAOs) by adapting their cybersecurity to new, unseen before challenges. Significantly, integration of soulbound would balance the amount of governing rights among the users — or, in other words, eliminate the chance for users with the bigger amount of the tokens to manipulate the workflow and network.
Still, even the concept with lucrative advantages can have its drawbacks, and soulbound does as well. Notably, the core risk of soulbound is the inability to determine its risks. Due to the fact that the technology is rudimental, the potential dangers of it are only about to be pinpointed. Nevertheless, it can be predicted that souls could always be hacked — and taking over “personality” is way more appalling than possessing the assets.
From what has been stated, the readers might conclude that soulbound technology seems too radical to be implemented, and I would agree with you — it truly seems, but in fact, it is in the state of intense development. What is more, Decentralized Society would radically alter the world, but would it jeopardise it? Currently, global technology is spurred to be rising concerns about its potential, morality, and that is fascinating — those doubts indicate that the human mindset has been taken several stages further.
However, do the risks of soulbound outweigh their enormous potential and prominent benefits? This question is up to you, dear readers.
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