What is Soulbound Token


A Soulbound Token (SBT) is a non-transferable digital token that represents a person's social identity in a decentralized society. Unlike typical cryptocurrencies or NFTs, these tokens cannot be bought, sold, or transferred, and are not designed to have market value. Instead, they function as verifiable records of social relations, achievements, and accomplishments, similar to an extended resume.

The concept of “soulbound token” was first mentioned by Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin in his January 2022 blog post. Later in May, Vitalik Buterin, along with economist Eric Glen Weyl and lawyer Puja Ohlhaver, proposed the idea of soulbound token in their paper titled Decentralized Society: Finding Web3's Soul, aiming to address the limitations of NFTs and other decentralized structures.

Source: SSRN

In terms of the value of soulbound tokens, they can help establish trust, provide provenance, and build reputation in the Web3 ecosystem by:

  • Reducing the risk of ecosystem manipulation, as people cannot lie about or buy their achievements since the tokens are non-transferable.
  • Making scams and identity theft in Web3 less prevalent due to the more complex process of impersonation.

Potential use cases for soulbound tokens include:

  • Certifying achievements such as job history or education.
  • Verifying event attendance, similar to a Proof of Attendance Protocol (POAP).
  • Allowing individuals to build verifiable, digital reputations based on past actions, laying the foundation for decentralized identity.
  • Implementing reputation-based voting in decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) governance models to help mitigate Sybil Attacks.

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