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What did we learn from testing web3’s first Soulbound Identity protocol for 15 days?

Testnet Launch of web3’s first Soulbound Token identity protocol

ICYMI: Team Masa recently launched Masa’s Soulbound Identity, web3’s first Soulbound Token (“SBT”) identity protocol. We first released the testnet launch to our community on August 12, and then to the general public on August 20.

The response has been overwhelming: over the past 15 days, 12,000+ Masa SBTs have been minted on testnet. The community resonated with our thesis: web3 needs an identity protocol.

Curious about our learnings in the 15 days of testing web3’s first identity protocol? Read on.

A Refresher on Masa’s Soulbound Identity

Here at Masa, our ambition is to on-ramp the next billion users into web3. However, having built products in both web2 and web3 universes in the past, we firmly believe that for web3 to reach the scale in our collective vision, we need to solve the identity friction.

For a future Decentralized Society, an identity protocol is a foundational layer, and SBTs are the building blocks. SBTs are non-transferrable, non-fungible tokens that can serve as a web3 user’s identity, unlocking access to a range of use cases:

  • Creditworthiness affirmation to access high-quality financial products
  • Reputation staking for mutual credit and community credit networks
  • Single-Sign-On login for web3
  • Proof-of-identity for DAO governance voting
  • Souldrop (soulbound airdrop) identity verification to prevent Sybil attack
  • Community private key recovery

…and many more.

A web3 identity protocol needs to be aligned with web3’s ethos: you own your identity. That is why we decided to build a highly flexible Zero-Knowledge layer. The entire soulbound data structure or parts of it can be shared privately to a counterparty and under programmable conditions agreed by both parties. This sharing can be ephemeral or permanent.

Launching Masa’s Soulbound Identity on Celo Testnet

Building web3’s first identity protocol is a grand vision. Grand visions sometimes could be challenged by the cold start problem.

We were inspired by ENS domain name’s success, and wanted to use the novelty factor to solve the cold start problem. The first testnet launch campaign anchored on the concept of “Claim Your Soul.” It allowed users to claim a unique .soul name — for example, teslashibe.soul — a unique identifier for a SBT holder’s soul that resolves to a wallet, or soul-linked data source.

How to claim your soul on the testnet

The Masa community responded with overwhelming enthusiasm. We first alpha launched SBT V1.02 on Discord and Telegram on August 12, 2022 (contract deployed here). Ten days later, we released SBT V1.03 to the general public through an open AMA on Twitch. More than 3,000 registered for our AMA, tuning in from all over the world.

Over the past 15 days, 12,000+ Masa SBTs have been minted and .soul names have been claimed. In a web3-native fashion, our community is decentralized and global, with members from Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Netherlands, Nigeria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, and Vietnam.

What Did We Learn? What’s Next?

First, the community is enthusiastic about claiming multiple .soul names. While currently on testnet, you can only mint one, we are allowing users to mint multiple .soul names on the mainnet upon its launch in September. We are taking one step further: on mainnet, users would be able to renew and trade their .soul name ownerships on OpenSea or any other supported NFT platforms.

Second, the community is curious about future use cases for Masa’s Soulbound Identity. We polled our community on the most exciting ideas. Beyond claiming your .soul name, the community likes the ideas of one-click NFT whitelist registration (get access to the best NFT drops using your Masa Soulbound Identity), souldrops (be automatically eligible for souldrops based on the Discord groups you’re part of), Single Sign-On for web3 (access funding pools and web3 consumer products without revealing your identity or doing verification every single time), and web3 credit score (use your defi credit score to unlock lower-collateral, higher quality defi products).

Third, the community wants to understand Masa’s protection methods against attacks and our stance on data privacy. Specifically, if we share data with third parties, is their data visible on chain, and who has access to their data and for how long? Masa is privacy first, and being the first SBT identity protocol to support both the private and public sharing of data Masa puts the user in control of how their data is shared on chain. In addition, Masa integrates with legacy web2 incumbents such as Credit Bureaus, allowing a user to port their credit history to web3, bootstrapping their soul’s credit history. This requires strict privacy and compliance process. Masa is subject to frequent audits to comply with the highest data protection standards. On a technical level, Masa has compliance built in at the protocol level with web3 primitives that enable GDPR compliance, as one example. Lastly, Masa never sells user data. EVER. Data is owned and managed by the user’s private key, with private key signing required to share soulbound data with any third party.

In the coming weeks, we plan to ship new use cases weekly, starting with a web3 credit score as the start of your web3 financial identity. These use cases directly address areas such as web2 and web3 financial access, web3 user login experience, and more, in partnership with some of the most loved names in the space.

How Can You Support?

User Testing: Over the next 4–8 weeks, we will build fast and test new features weekly with community members on the testnet. We are looking for user feedback from the community and are awarding mainnet whitelist places for testers to claim one soul name through early access once the testing phase is complete. Join Masa Discord, and make us improve by reporting bugs or feedback.

Developers: If you are a developer who wants early access to our SBT developer framework, please email us at developers@masa.finance to request early access. If you are passionate about blockchain and access to credit, please check out our careers page here or email us at jobs@masa.finance — we would love to hear from you!

Partners: If you are interested in leveraging Masa Soulbound Identity for credit underwriting, single sign-on or identity verification in your application, please email us at partners@masa.finance.

With Gratitude,

The Masa Team 🌽

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