How big data will redefine our identity in the metaverse

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The metaverse will become a technological phenomenon, if the enthusiasm of tech innovators like Mark Zuckerberg, who recently renamed Facebook Meta, is embraced by business leaders and consumers. Zuckerberg calls the metaverse “a set of virtual spaces where you can create and explore with other people who aren’t in the same physical space as you,” and believes the potential of this new virtual landscape will only be realized once we get started. spend more time in the metaverse than in the real world. But what does the prospect of a virtual landscape in which we spend all our time mean for our identities?

Although we are many years away from seeing the metaverse become the global ecosystem it promises to be, many questions are already being raised about identity in the age of Web3. Relevant issues include how individuals and organizations can represent themselves online and what digital identity will really mean in the future. As we interact entirely online for social and commercial purposes, we will generate vast amounts of data about who we are. How this data is collected and used will be a major topic for years to come.

Precedence Research has estimated the size of the metaverse market to be around $1.607 trillion by 2030, and this lucrative prospect is likely to have companies looking to use big data to forge faster growth and capitalize on the opportunity. With this in mind, maintaining user trust will also be critical to the success of the metaverse.

But in a virtual world built around avatar-based communication and collaboration, how anonymous will the data we produce in Web3 really be?

Factors like Know Your Customer (KYC) and security will play a central role in ensuring identities are protected in the challenging new landscape of the metaverse. The many avatars and digital currencies that operate within virtual landscapes will be linked to digital profiles and properties that will be attached to a user’s real identity. Although avatars will make users appear anonymous to other users in the metaverse, regulators are already exploring the challenges that can arise around identity and anonymity in virtual spaces. Although universal policies have not been instituted, there are already rules that can be applied to counter fraudulent practices within the metaverse.

As the metaverse matures, it seems likely that avatars will represent our metaverse selves, and direct-to-avatar (D2A) purchases will facilitate a sense of individualism while maintaining a degree of anonymity. However, these transactions will need to go through an integrated digital wallet attached to the metaverse in question, which may have KYC security measures.

Given the high value of the metaverse and the many properties that can be bought and sold within the landscape, identification linking users to virtual assets is essential. Although anonymity can be maintained in the metaverse, it seems likely that the data in our profiles is negligently identified. Similar constructs are likely to exist for, say, age-restricted regions of the metaverse.

Although true decentralization is in high demand online, proper identification is likely to forge a more secure digital environment for all users in the metaverse. However, given the sheer volume of interactions, actions, and behaviors that will be exhibited, it is essential to delve into how profiles, credentials, and avatars will be governed in the metaverse in the future.

Exploring the future of identity

Here, it’s important to recognize the grand scale of the role avatars will play in bringing the metaverse to life. Although there are likely to be a large number of metaverses that users will be able to access online, we can expect to keep our avatars in different virtual ecosystems.

“Users will want to take more than just the visual appearance of their avatar from one virtual world to another. They will also want to take their online reputation, progress and achievements with them,” explained Sebastien Borget, co-founder and COO of The Sandbox, in an interview with Cointelegraph.

“Users should be able to use all of their data as proof of who they are online. This will contribute to defining the true digital identity of an individual (or multiple, since there can be many)”, added Borget.

Borget points out that the vast amounts of data a user will produce within the metaverse can help build a more complete online identity, which can ultimately work to create a digital footprint that can act as an identity within more complex sectors such as finance. decentralized (DeFi). .

“Even in DeFi, a cryptocurrency exchange can lend you more to buy land if you show that you really spend time building and playing in the metaverse. And you don’t want data to be stored in a single virtual world – in the true spirit of Web3, users shouldn’t have to be cooped up in a walled-garden platform to carry out their history and reputation,” Borget said.

The idea of ​​big data supporting stocks like DeFi lending is an impressive prospect. Borget’s suggestion implies that our digital footprint will be so strong within the metaverse that we can instantly be considered and accepted for loans through smart contracts that are automatically executed based on our online behavior.

However, building a digital identity based on big data can also be an extremely dangerous prospect. Although Meta has sought to position itself as a key player in the metaverse, its leading social network, Facebook, has come under intense scrutiny for its use of user data.

With this in mind, our online actions must always be protected, as we continue to generate vast amounts of data through them.

The need for trust

Considering the immersive nature of virtual and augmented reality, the metaverse may allow companies to invasively examine more personal parts of their customers’ lives. Biological readings such as blood pressure, eye tracking, respiratory rate, and even more intimate factors can be used to generate insights that can be exploited for political or marketing purposes.

Selling personal data to advertisers the way social media companies do needs to be managed more robustly in the age of Web3. If access to big data is not properly regulated, the metaverse risks rotting from the inside out before the technology has a chance to flourish.

A solution can be found in autonomous identity (SSI), which looks at the control of information surrounding users in the context of the metaverse, paving the way for more ethical data storage.

SSI can help address data privacy and security issues by eliminating the need to store personal information in a central database and by allowing users to choose what data they store and share. With a platform that provides effective decentralized trust, it is possible for those participating in the metaverse to retain full control over what they share online.

Although the metaverse is still many years away from becoming a place to live, work and collaborate, it is essential that all companies seeking to build this virtual landscape are transparent about how they use data and approach identity. Although this digital landscape will be populated by avatars, the information they generate must remain ethically stored at all times.

Dmytro Spilka is Solvid’s main assistant.

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