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  • Writer's pictureEko Lance

What are the Key Problems that Soulbound Tokens Solve?

SoulBound tokens; a form of tokenization are solving key problems and challenges faced with traditional asset ownership. Problems such as;


  • Counterfeit risk

  • Bot and spam activities 

  • Improper KYC check 

  • High cost of verifying qualifications 

  • Lack of data privacy 


The digital world relies heavily on our ability to verify who we are, what we own, and what information is true. It is obvious that the current online identity systems are often fragmented, insecure, and lack user control. This is where Soulbound Tokens (SBTs) emerge as a potential game-changer.

Image depicting a group of professionals who have built an on-chain identity with SBTs
Source: Freepik

This article aims to show how on-chain identity representation, using soulbound tokens can circumvent these problems and reroute Web3 to an authentic and more transformational path. 


What are Soulbound Tokens?

Soulbound tokens emerge as an intriguing concept, promising to revolutionize digital identity and authentication. At its core, a Soulbound Token (SBT) is a type of token that proves the authenticity of an individual's certification, professional, and educational history, serving as a digital testament to their work history, achievements, and expertise.


Unlike traditional tokens, SBTS are non-transferable, and firmly tethered to the owner's digital identity. Once acquired, these tokens reside indefinitely within the owner's "soul wallet," immune to transfer or sale. However, it's worth noting that issuers retain the authority to revoke SBTs, underscoring the importance of maintaining one's digital reputation.


For many, the notion of soulbound tokens remains an unfamiliar territory, yet its inception traces back to the early days of 2022 when Ethereum Co-Founder, Vitalik Buterin introduced the term. While the underlying concept had seen sporadic use before Buterin's articulation, his seminal post brought soulbound tokens into the limelight. 


How Does Soulbound Tokens Work?

Soulbound Token (SBTs) is a novel concept in the Web3 space, acting much like digital badges that represent real-life achievements, qualifications, or memberships. Think of them as a way to digitally showcase your accomplishments, such as university degrees, professional certifications, or even participation in certain community activities.


At their core, soulbound tokens are unique digital tokens that are non-transferable. This means once you receive a Soulbound token for an achievement or credential, it's bound to your digital identity and cannot be given or sold to someone else.


Technically, the concept of SBTs is straightforward—a unique and non-transferable token. They offer a plethora of applications that span identity verification, credential authentication, and community governance. For instance, Binance, unveiled its Account Bound (BAB) Token, leveraging SBTs as KYC credentials to authenticate user identities seamlessly. Furthermore, SBTs facilitate airdrops of NFTs and enable quadratic voting mechanisms, fostering a more inclusive and transparent community engagement.


While soulbound tokens may initially appear abstract, their integration within existing ecosystems holds immense potential. Take for instance, on our talent platform, techFiesta, we integrated the SBT feature which provides verifiable proof of educational and career achievements.  We are bridging this existing gap in credential verification by utilizing the power of Soulbound tokens (SBTs) to transform how credentials are shared, verified, and valued in the Web3 ecosystem.


Soulbound tokens have diverse applications across various industries, including:

A visual showing diverse applications of SBTs
  • Job Market: SBTs offer a secure, transparent, and efficient solution for managing and verifying CV data, benefiting both individuals and organizations involved in the hiring process.


  • Real Estate: Tokenizing properties enables fractional ownership and facilitates real-time property transactions.


  • Artwork: Soulbound tokens make art investments more accessible and transparent, allowing collectors to buy and sell shares of valuable artworks.


  • Intellectual Property: Tokenizing intellectual assets like patents or copyrights enables creators to monetize their work and investors to profit from royalties.


  • Collectibles: Tokenizing collectible items like rare coins or trading cards creates liquid markets for niche assets and expands investment opportunities.


6 Characteristics That Sets Soulbound Tokens Apart

1. Immutable Credentials: SBTs could represent digital credentials such as diplomas, certifications, or badges stored on a blockchain, ensuring their immutability and preventing unauthorized alterations. For example, SBTs in games represent digital assets like; characters, weapons, armor, skins, or any other items that hold value or utility within the game. In the Web3 education space, EkoLance is bridging this existing gap in credential verification by utilizing the power of Soulbound Tokens (SBTs) to transform how credentials are shared, verified, and valued through the integration of SBTs. By participating in our tailored training sessions, webinars, and workshops, you can earn soulbound tokens.


2. Transparency and Verification: Companies are always on the lookout for innovative methods to find and hire skilled talent. Soulbound Tokens (SBTs) present an effective solution to this challenge. SBT-based credentials could offer transparency and easy verification, allowing employers, educational institutions, or credential evaluators to verify the authenticity of qualifications quickly and securely.


3. Ownership and Control: Professionals could own their digital credentials, granting them full control over who can access and verify their qualifications. Like in gaming and the virtual world, SBTs are typically designed to be owned by individual players and often possess scarcity characteristics. This means that certain SBTs may be limited in quantity, making them more valuable or desirable within the game economy.


4. Interoperability Across Platforms: SBTs might be designed to be interoperable across different platforms or systems, allowing individuals to use their credentials seamlessly across various job application portals, educational platforms, or professional networks.


5. Community Validation: Similar to how the gaming community values certain SBTs, individuals could earn community validation or endorsements for their skills and accomplishments, further enhancing the credibility of their digital credentials.


6. Enhanced Security and Privacy: SBT-based credentials could leverage advanced encryption techniques to enhance security and privacy, ensuring that sensitive information remains protected while still being verifiable by authorized parties.


6 Key Problems That Soulbound Tokens Solve

A visual showing the 6 problems soulbound tokens solve.

1. Reduced Counterfeit Risk

The physical nature of traditional paper-based credentials exposes them to the risk of counterfeiting or forgery. Without robust authentication measures in place, individuals may unknowingly accept fake or altered documents, leading to potential fraud or misrepresentation. Employers often need help with verifying potential hires' training and work history claims, while professionals grapple with the cumbersome process of proving their qualifications and experiences. The result? Needed opportunities on both ends, with talent and organizations needing help to connect in meaningful ways. 


For instance, counterfeit certifications can deceive employers and undermine the integrity of the credentialing system, impacting trust and credibility. The unique SBT integration within EkoLance and our talent platform, techFiesta, provide verifiable proof of educational and career achievements. By participating in our tailored training sessions, hackathons, developer challenges, and crowd tasks, professionals can earn SBTs that serve as irrefutable proof of their skills and career achievements. This not only simplifies the verification process for employers but also empowers professionals to showcase their skills and experiences confidently and transparently. 


Blockchain technology through SBTs provides a decentralized and tamper-proof platform for storing and verifying digital CVs and credentials, significantly reducing the risk of counterfeit or fraudulent activity. Each credential is cryptographically signed and recorded on a distributed ledger, ensuring its authenticity and integrity.


2. Know Your Customer (KYC) Requirements

As the decentralized finance (DeFi) sector continues to revolutionize the financial landscape, regulatory bodies are grappling with the need to adapt to this rapidly evolving ecosystem. One concern revolves around Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements, where governments are imposing regulations to centralize stablecoins and mandate KYC credentialing. However, users in the crypto space harbour apprehensions regarding their privacy and data security in light of these regulations.


In response, soulbound tokens (SBTs) emerge as a promising solution. Leading the charge is Binance, with the introduction of their pioneering soulbound token, BAB.

The Binance Account Bond (BAB) token represents a breakthrough in online verification, signaling that the account holder has completed Binance's KYC process. Users can showcase the BAB token within their wallets, enabling third parties to incorporate it into their verification procedures. Initially serving to confirm the completion of Binance's KYC process, the potential applications of BAB tokens are poised to expand as identity verification tokens gain traction within the DeFi realm.


KYC tokens hold immense potential, extending beyond mere identity verification. They can be leveraged to thwart bot access to financial services or offer flash loans with reduced collateral requirements. By confirming that a user has undergone a KYC check, these tokens introduce a heightened level of trust and security to the DeFi landscape. BAB tokens and similar verification tokens refrain from disclosing users' data. Instead, they merely attest to the fact that users have been verified. 


3.  Bots & Spam Activities on Social Platforms

Bots and spamming activities have increasingly plagued social media platforms, posing significant challenges such as manipulating public opinion, spreading misinformation, and perpetrating scams aimed at extracting personal information or credentials from unsuspecting users.


Soulbound tokens offer a promising solution by potentially establishing a social media space exclusively for genuine human interaction. This entails users verifying their digital identities through methods like the Ethereum Name Service (ENS). Platforms like Lens and Farcaster exemplify this approach by mandating users to link their digital identities with their accounts, effectively barring bots from infiltrating their platforms.


Additionally, various initiatives are exploring the integration of proof-of-humanity or proof-of-personhood mechanisms using Soulbound tokens. These endeavors aim to foster a more reliable and transparent online environment while preserving user anonymity, especially if their digital identities remain undisclosed.

 Image depicting a Web3 professional trying to mint Soulbound Tokens
Source: Freepik

4. High Transaction Costs

The process of verifying and exchanging traditional paper-based credentials often involves intermediaries such as educational institutions, certification bodies, or employers, resulting in high transaction costs and administrative burdens. For example, requesting official transcripts or verifying qualifications may require individuals to navigate complex bureaucratic processes and pay additional fees. These costs can deter individuals from pursuing further education or seeking career advancement opportunities.


Soulbound tokens eliminate the need for intermediaries in verifying and exchanging digital CVs and credentials, reducing transaction costs and administrative overhead. For instance, individuals can securely share their credentials with employers or educational institutions without relying on expensive verification services or manual processes. This efficiency streamlines the credentialing process and promotes greater transparency and trust in the job market.


5. Data Privacy Concerns

Data privacy concerns have become increasingly prevalent as many online platforms engage in the collection and sale of personal information without adequate consent or control from users. This practice not only violates users' privacy rights but also exposes them to potential risks such as identity theft, targeted advertising, and unauthorized access to sensitive data.

Soulbound tokens (SBTs) offer a solution by empowering users to regain control over their personal information. With SBTs, users can selectively share their data with specific applications or services, thereby exercising granular access control. This means that users can determine which pieces of information they are comfortable sharing and restrict access to sensitive data that they wish to keep private.

For example, a user may choose to share their name and email address with a social media platform to create an account but withhold their location data and browsing history. Similarly, they could grant temporary access to their financial information for a specific transaction, after which the access rights expire automatically. SBTs enable users to establish transparent and auditable consent mechanisms, ensuring that their data is only accessed and used following their preferences which leads to a more secure and ethical digital ecosystem.


6. Voting Mechanism 

In many countries, especially in Africa, the traditional method of voting involves manually marking a paper ballot and placing it into a ballot box. Although perceived as inefficient, attempts to introduce fully electronic voting systems to mitigate electoral fraud have encountered challenges. As voting systems become more intricate, the risks of errors and tampering escalate. There are apprehensions that government control over voting machine software could lead to manipulation of results. Additionally, electronically verifying voter identities proves to be both intricate and costly.


Soulbound tokens (SBTs) present a potential solution by facilitating easy identity verification and incorporating voting mechanisms akin to those utilized by blockchains and decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs). Municipalities could issue SBTs to individuals with verified identities. Each individual would possess only one voting SBT at a time, and relocation would necessitate the revocation of the previous SBT before the issuance of a new one. These SBTs could function similarly to governance tokens within a DAO, with one SBT equating to one vote. Exclusive voting rights would be conferred upon SBT holders. In larger districts or countries, voting power could extend to holders of municipality-issued SBTs within the respective area.


Adopting easily verifiable tokens would streamline the e-voting process. Voting mechanisms could be conducted either on-chain or off-chain, depending on the preference of each jurisdiction. On-chain voting would directly record votes onto the blockchain without divulging the voter's identity, thereby addressing concerns surrounding vote manipulation.


Frequently Ask Questions About Soulbound Tokens

Q1 Can I trade Soulbound tokens on multiple platforms?

Soulbound tokens cannot be bought, sold, or transferred and are not designed to have market value. Instead, they can be issued by individuals or by another entity to symbolize an accomplishment. They are used to track reputation and cannot be traded.


Q2. What happens if I lose access to my digital wallet?

If you are unable to access your digital wallet, regaining control of your Soulbound tokens can be difficult. Safeguarding your wallet's backup phrase or recovery seed in a secure place is essential. Without this backup, there is a possibility of losing access to your tokens permanently.


Q3 What is the future outlook for soulbound tokens?

With advancements in blockchain technology and the growing acceptance of digital assets, soulbound tokens are expected to play a significant role in transforming the way we invest in our reputation to access opportunities globally.


Conclusion

Soulbound Tokens (SBTs) represent a transformative leap in how we manage digital identities and credentials. By addressing critical challenges such as counterfeit risks, bot and spam activities, improper KYC checks, high verification costs, data privacy concerns, and efficient voting mechanisms, SBTs pave the way for a more secure, transparent, and user-controlled digital ecosystem. They offer a robust framework for verifiable and immutable credentials, ensuring authenticity and trust across various applications—from job markets and real estate to intellectual property and collectibles.


For projects aiming to harness the power of SoulBound tokens by making smarter hiring decisions and driving innovation, join us at techFiesta to be at the forefront of this digital revolution 


The unique SBT integration within EkoLance and our talent platform, techFiesta, provide verifiable proof of educational and career achievements. We offer opportunities like; tailored training sessions, educative webinars, hackathons, developer challenges, and crowd tasks, where professionals can earn SBTs that serve as irrefutable proof of their skills and career achievement. Check out our website here.


As a Web3 developer, techFiesta helps you gain more hands-on experience and many opportunities for high-paying jobs and entrepreneurship. Sign up here.


About EkoLance

EkoLance revolutionizes the future of work by empowering professionals in Web2 and the blockchain industry. EkoLance has two products: an educational platform with training programs for upskilling in the blockchain space and a developer activation platform called techFiesta, where companies launch hackathons and developer challenges. EkoLance has a community of over 8,000 blockchain professionals.

Image showing some of EkoLance Alumni

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