In this guest article, Unstoppable Domain’s Sandy Carter shares her vision for Web3 identity and why we should care about it.
A preface by Ramp
To achieve Web3’s promises of a more decentralized and democratic web – one that enfranchises and empowers users, and not just platforms – we need to get the basics right. And there’s nothing more fundamental than identity.
The current state of affairs is worrying: the most basic building block of our digital lives is mostly owned by big tech companies, leaving us users at the whims of corporations, prone to censorship and abuse. And for a long time, there didn’t seem to be any viable alternatives.
But this picture is changing fast. Some companies are fighting to give users control over their digital selves. Our partner Unstoppable Domains is leading the way towards building this future.
We’re proud to share their vision with you in the words of Unstoppable Domains’ senior vice-president and channel chief Sandy Carter. Read on!
Identity in a digital world: why Web2 is a broken model
When you think about identity, you probably instantly think about your ID, your passport, or something that defines your legal identity like your social security number, or your date of birth.
But you could also think of identity as a collection of different pieces of your life which come together and blend to form who you are.
A lot of it now happens online: the photos you take and share with friends, your social clout, your professional curriculum, what you bought last week...
Today, most of your online identity data has been centralized among a handful of web2 companies.
Not only do they limit the usability of the data you spent hard work creating (for example, my 90k Twitter following was nowhere to be found when I first logged in on Discord; I had to rebuild clout from scratch there), but these valuable pieces of information are used for profit at your expense: Google and Facebook advertising revenue respectively crossed the $200B and $100B mark in 2021.
Web3, where users are in control
Web3 (decentralized) identity puts the user at the center and in control.
A Web3 Digital Identity travels with you and is owned by you across the metaverse. It is your wallet, your healthcare data, your education records, KYC, and much more.
Wherever you log in with your identity, you stay in control and get to decide what data is shared, who gets the data, and when they get the data.
Do users and economies need this? (spoiler: yes, and today)
Digital identity isn't just a futuristic concept -- it's already part of our lives. 80 percent of global citizens say that use of their data by platforms is a top-of-mind worry, behind climate and inflation.
In the European Union, a majority (63 percent) of citizens declared they would use a digital identity – defined as a digital identity that travels with you and that you own your data – if it existed.
Meanwhile, 97 percent said they would rather own their own data than have it shared by someone else.
Pew Research also showed that users leveraging their own data would positively impact GDP by 3 percent if individuals got to have control of their data versus central platforms having control of that data.
On a smaller yet critical scale, imagine being a small retailer looking at what kind of discount you could offer new customers.
Today you would have to buy advertising data from a Web2 platform (such as Facebook), whose data is often faulty and forces you to take into account a potentially high fraud level.
If users logged in with that Web3 ID, they’d own the data, which would allow you to confirm its validity firsthand, as it is on-chain.
You therefore could invest the fraud cost and middle-man costs into the discount. A $10 off coupon could then become a $1,500 discount coupon.
How do we think of the future of decentralized identities?
The potential applications of this on-chain user-owned verifiable identity are limitless. I’d love to share two examples that are particularly exciting:
Many misdiagnoses occur because a doctor does not have all the necessary information about your pre-existing conditions and treatments, many times because the information is siloed between different sets of doctors or hospitals or different countries you've traveled to.
Being in control of your medical data, which is immensely private but also life-saving to have at any time, calls for a wider Web3 Identity.
Your academic certifications, diplomas, accolades received or skills that you learned over time being secured on the blockchain would help your life in many ways.
Asking for transcripts today can be a somewhat unnerving experience. I was recently asked by a college to fax my request to them, and finding a fax machine in 2022 is not an easy feat!
They then (snail) mailed me a physical piece of paper that I now have to save for the foreseeable future. An NFT that I could share with any employer, college, or university would be an easy solution.
Even greater applications are to be discovered in different sectors (e.g. financial records, sustainability, intellectual property…) and this is why Unstoppable Domains has already partnered with more than 500 apps in Web2 and Web3 (including Ramp!) to help everyone benefit from the superpowers of user-owned NFT domains.
Unstoppable Domains are Web3 identities with superpowers
The NFT domains you can get from Unstoppable Domains already bring everyone some great value from Web3 identity today.
With your Unstoppable Domain, you can choose from 10+ domain name endings (including .crypto, .nft, and .x), and here are a few examples of what you can use it for.
Build your Web3 identity
- On your ud.me profile page, you can start building your portable web3 Identity.
- Set an NFT you own as your web3 profile picture and verify and link your social profiles to your domain.
- Earn badges that show achievements like what NFTs projects you’re involved in, how many domains you’ve collected, or cryptos you hold.
Log in to hundreds of applications
- Log in to apps across Web2 and Web3 with just your Unstoppable domain, without having to remember a password.
- You control what data you share with those apps, giving you freedom and control over your personal information.
- With features like Humanity Check, you can prove you’re a human without sharing who you are.
Replace lengthy, unreadable crypto wallet addresses on 50+ wallets and exchanges
- Unstoppable domains replace lengthy wallet addresses with a simple, easy-to-remember name, making sending crypto as easy as sending an email.
Create, host, and browse decentralized websites
- Unstoppable domains are accessible natively through Brave and Opera browsers, and through browser extensions on Chrome, Firefox, and Edge.
The future of identity is here
We do believe there is a solution to the many shortcomings from which users of Web2 digital identities currently suffer, and that this is something that will be beneficial to individuals, economies, and businesses alike.
We are building a solution that is already helpful today and used by millions. But this is just the beginning: we think that our NFT domains will be as ubiquitous as email, giving everyone an identity across Web3 that they own and control.
-- Sandy Carter
Got your Unstoppable Domain already?
Then why not take it for a spin and use it to purchase crypto at Ramp? It's easy peasy:
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