vSelf Meta AMA Recap
Thanks to everyone joining the recent space with the team from vSelf focused on building identity solutions for web3. Congrats also to the winners of the NEAR giveaway.
During the AMA, we were joined by Tatiana from the team.
You can listen to the recording here or read on for a summary of what we discussed.
Could you share more about your journey in crypto?
Tatiana: I’m the CEO and co-founder of the vSelf project. Normally I 'm also the voice behind the vSelf account for spaces and the one answering emails and messages. I’ve been in web3 for about five years now.
I’ve been mixing academia and web3 for quite some time, working in startups focused on blockchain projects while staying in academia. I used to be a university professor teaching blockchain to non-tech people, such as business informatics. I started vSelf roughly a year ago, and a lot of the devs working at vSelf come from previous projects I worked with.
Most of us are focused on how we can use web3 and blockchain to make people’s lives better and to give more ownership and digital freedoms to users. So we’re not so much on the crypto or financially motivated side.
One of the big things for us is giving users ownership over their data. We started with a scenario where we can educate users and motivate them to start collecting digital certificates about their behavior on their side.
What is vSelf?
Tatiana: By definition, we call this web3 identity wallet with rewards for data sharing. The platform, identities as a service platform, allows organizations to set up digital certificates for actions or marks. On the other side, users can collect these certificates and add them to their public persona.
We’re now on mainnet, which focuses on nontransferable NFT certificates as marks of achievement. One of the tasks we started on Nearcon is gamification for the human guild of their interaction with attendees during the conference. So it’s similar to a POAP; anyone who played their games or other activities could claim a certificate. This then allowed them to identify their active community, and this information can later be used for things like airdrops etc.
Why did you decide to build on NEAR?
Tatiana: Previously, the projects I worked on were on Ethereum, so we noticed, of course, the problems with fees and other issues with human-centric applications. So we wanted a chain that is cheap, fast, and can interact with other platforms. And then, we chose NEAR because there was a lot of expertise and proficiency among the core devs, giving us assurance that this protocol is here for the long run.
And the second reason was that the community was very friendly and supportive. We started over one year ago, building things in the ecosystem. First we joined MetaBUILD, and we created a small lottery game with NFTs as rewards, and we received a lot of feedback and support. So we fell in love with the community. We are confident that we can build on NEAR for many years.
We’re here to stay.
Can you tell us more about your pfp?
Tatiana: We were looking for associations with privacy, and so we want to give users abilities to control various identities and sub-identities. That means letting them switch personas depending on the context. We were brainstorming with the designer as to what could be the best representation, so we came up with this character. It’s basically any persona of the user under the privacy layer of vSelf.
We don't have a name yet for it. Maybe we should make it a contest.
So is the product a wallet?
Tatiana: The product itself is a 2-sided platform beside the wallet where users can collect and store their nfts. Eventually, we will add verifiable credentials to it. We also added a web3 studio to it as well where organizations can create their own certificates. We are also creating a toolkit because on NEAR we don’t have verifiable credentials yet. They are basically a hybrid version of digitally signed documents. It could be educational certificates or for completion of projects at hackathons etc.
However, verifiable credentials exist already and are a standard by the W3c, which has formalized decentralized identifiers in combination with verifiable credentials to build a bridge between centralized and decentralized worlds.
Will credentials be interoperable with other wallets?
Tatiana: The main goal is to be interoperable. Right now, we’re testing and adding a polygon connection. One of them vSelf features already live is similar to linktree where people can add their existing NFTs and links to their accounts. Ideally, you can mix and match everything you collected everywhere on one page.
As users own and use these things, it’s important to make them transferrable and interoperable. Our vision is to be interoperable and let users choose what’s more convenient and usable.
What’s your approach to onboarding a non-web3 audience?
Tatiana: For us, that’s a really big thing. A lot of our efforts are on that. We’re launching a demo where certificates will be issued for ReFi projects, so we already started working with the non-degen audience. Whenever there are extra clicks, people drop out of the process so we created a way where people who don’t have accounts can use our website to create a human-readable name with NEAR and then sign in. Later we will probably switch to tools, most likely keypom.
And we also will have to do a lot of education to ensure that people are aware of the responsibility of keeping their seed phrases safe etc.