Humanizing Web3: Soulbound Tokens

Humanizing Web3: Soulbound Tokens

As the Web3 climate continues to become more widely used, an emerging need for an interpersonal framework accompanies it.

Introducing Soulbound Tokens (SBTs)

Soulbound tokens, or SBTs for short, are similar to NFTs in that they are futuristic tokens that provide digital verification of ownership and membership to individuals. Soulbound tokens, once launched, would be stored on a public blockchain- an irrevocable network powered by a multitude of computers around the globe.

What's more, they would introduce a nuanced aspect of personalization to Web3 by encoding relationships of trust and reputability. Each individual would receive a digital "soul" much akin to a crypto wallet should they wish to possess one. This soul could receive SBTs issued by other souls on the same network, such as degrees issued by universities. In other words, souls representing individuals could possess multiple non-transferrable SBTs, while souls representing non-human entities could have the power to issue SBTs.

Differentiating SBTs from NFTs 

Whereas a single person has the capacity to possess multiple "wallets" to store NFTs, the same person could only possess one "soul". The purpose of the soul would be to host permanent, personalized items. Such items include individual awards, memberships, affiliations and more, all per its attachment to the blockchain network. 

Another key distinction lies in the difference of purpose between the two. The majority, if not the entirety, of early Web3 development has centred around commercialisation and monetisation. Cryptocurrencies and NFTs are prime examples. However, the tangible and intangible aspects of today's economy are grounded by relationships of trust not yet reflected in the current Web3 ecosystem. SBT visionaries Glen Weyl, Puja Ohlhaver and Vitalik Buterin deem this aspect of trust essential for further Web3 development.

Behind the SBT Development Team 

Glen Weyl, an economist and researcher for Microsoft Research New England, Puja Ohlhaver, lead strategist for Flashbots Computer and Network Security, and Vitalik Buterin, founder of the Ether Network, detail their vision for SBTs in "Decentralized Society: Finding Web3's Soul." Each author dedicates a significant proportion of his or her time towards developing and improving Web3 products. As such, the three are considered relative experts within the increasingly relevant Web3 space.

Moving towards Web3 ubiquity

Current Web3 investment opportunities lack the basic framework that provides the foundation for interpersonal transactions in the current economy. More specifically, scams and fraudulent activities occur quite frequently in today's Web3 environment. Creating individualistic souls attached to the blockchain provides easily traceable, digitalized identities. With this power, the quantity of fraudulent activities would decrease exponentially. Souls that instigate, participate or affiliate with fraudulent scams are held accountable by blockchain technology, which is entirely public.