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Coinbase is ‘thinking about’ identity tools that could potentially help people access and manage their metaverse identity and NFTs.
Coinbase is ‘thinking about’ identity tools that could potentially help people access and manage their metaverse identity and NFTs. This was revealed in a December 16 blog post by Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong and Identity Product Lead Alex Reeve.
Coinbase and Its Metaverse Plans
The post outlined, among other things, what the Metaverse is, some of its elements and who is currently working on the different elements. Armstrong and Reeve describe the Metaverse as “the distant evolution of Web3”. Similar to Web2, interactions with the Metaverse will, to varying degrees, be dependant on identity. Some components of Metaverse identity we can anticipate are:
- Easy Login. At present, Web3 login can be done through a wallet connection. This could potentially be applied to the Metaverse.
- Unique ID. This is, in simple terms, a username that can be used to interact with various aspects of the Metaverse. Coinbase is currently working with Ethereum Name Service (ENS), a service that turns the random characters in a wallet address into a legible English text. This will allow users to interact with the Metaverse as for example, ‘JohnSmith.eth’ and not a random string of characters. Coinbase is hoping to create unique username NFTs representing specific wallets.
- Avatar. Your unique ID can have a visual representation attached to it. Users will be able to purchase unique avatars for their profiles, yet another use case of NFTs.
- Metadata. Information such as age and social graph.
- Attestations. These are cryptographic legitimacy signals
“At Coinbase, we want to help pull all the pieces of identity together – essentially creating an identity on-ramp into the Metaverse. That’s the idea behind our work with ENS, which makes it possible to create a unique username NFT that resolves to a wallet. Eventually, this will allow users to carry a unique ID across different worlds in the Metaverse […] We’re also working on technology that will allow you to purchase your avatar, define and maintain your public profile, and establish trust. And we’re working on features like Sign in with [ETH/Coinbase], which could allow users to sign into every app in the Metaverse,” wrote the company.
A Threat to Decentralisation in the Metaverse?
Due to its popularity as a crypto exchange (third-largest by volume), this move by Coinbase puts it at risk of becoming the Facebook of the Metaverse. Of course unlike Facebook and other Web2 fixtures, the Metaverse, by its very nature, will be decentralized.
If Coinbase does end up becoming a service that the majority use to access and manage their metaverse identities they will have to be careful to avoid repeating the monopolizing practices for which Web2 has been known.