Last Updated: 25 June 2022
If it were up to Vitalik Buterin, so-called Soulbound Tokens would be Ethereum’s next success story. The term “Soulbound” was attached to the idea by Buterin himself and was inspired by the ever-popular World of Warcraft. What makes Soulbound Tokens special is that they cannot be sent once they are received.
Soulbound Tokens in brief
Soulbound Tokens are a kind of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs). But if they end up in your “soulwallet,” you can’t sell or pass them on anymore. They are bound to you for eternity. The moment you get a Soulbound Token, you keep it forever. But what can you do with Soulbound Tokens if they can’t disappear from your wallet? That is a good question.
There are a number of uses for them. For example, universities can issue diplomas in the form of Soulbound Tokens. For this to work, however, the identity of the person in question must be securely linked to the wallet. Otherwise, you could, in theory, pass on your wallet. Another risk is losing a wallet.
Other applications for Soulbound Tokens
Another application you can think of for the tokens is proving certain things. For example, suppose a company is looking for a new employee who has taken certain courses or attended events. Souldbound Tokens can help with that.
In theory, it’s even possible to hire people without knowing their names, but purely on the basis of Soulbound Tokens. After all, you can program the tokens so that the university or college can endorse that the token is legitimate without revealing the owner’s identity.
In a world filled with scammers, it might be interesting to build a blockchain-based reality. A reality in which we can check things and speak with certainty about important details such as diplomas and the like.
Vitalik Buterin and his colleagues refer to the future of the world as the “decentralised society” in a research paper. The paper is entitled “Decentralised Society: Finding Web3’s Soul.” According to Buterin, Blockchain technology makes it possible to build trust in social relationships. Soulbound Tokens are a way of building up a verified reputation on the internet. A kind of curriculum vitae that cannot be tampered with.
According to Buterin, this new form of token will be “on the market” by the end of 2022. The creator of Ethereum expects them to go mainstream in 2024 and cause a huge hype. We have yet to see it, as most cryptocurrencies have become popular so far because of the monetary aspects. If you bet early on the right coins, there was a lot to be gained. The same cannot be said for the new Soulbound Tokens, which cannot be sold or given away once they are received.
On the other hand, it is not wise to underestimate Vitalik Buterin because the man has achieved a lot in the crypto world. But of course, he cannot be right about everything. What exactly we should expect from the Soulbound Tokens is still unclear, but that they are on their way to our wallets is certain.