How the blockchain can end anonymity on the web

You may have heard of NFTs, these digital objects, photos, videos and characters, whose owner is clearly identified thanks to the blockchain, but which can be used by everyone, circulating on the web. Along with cryptocurrencies, NFTs are the standard-bearers of Web3, an umbrella term for a vision of a decentralized, user-owned Internet.

The Bored Ape Yacht Club is called one of the most popular NFT collections, and they are tens of thousands of pictures of monkeys with each one more extravagant appearance than the next. The 6000-member community behind these Primates is highly committed and brings together the best of entrepreneurs, investors, and celebrities. A few weeks ago, Paris Hilton and Jimmy Fallon, talk show host tonight show, Compare their avatars live on TV. If you want to succumb to this elite passion, you will have to pay close to $300,000, or even $3 million for the rarest of photos. The company behind this group, Yuga Labs, which takes 2.5% on every transaction in addition to the initial sale, has doubled down on licensing agreements with brands like Adidas. Able to monetize a community of huge influencers, it will be valued at no less than $5 billion. The sympathetic story of its founders emerging as billionaires could have ended if the media, in this case BuzzFeed, had not revealed their identity. With anonymity being such a staple of Web3 culture, this revelation led to a wave of outrage.

Supporters of Web3 see anonymity as a way to cure some of the ills of Web 2.0 social platforms, including harassment or discrimination. Apart from his physical appearance, gender, and social origin, everyone will be free to succeed behind his character. Like a permanent carnival where everyone wears a mask. Internet users of this Web3 will not be relieved of all responsibility. Their actions will be immutably recorded on the blockchain, which is then worth recording for good or bad behavior, a kind of real-time measure of karma. Incidentally, these digital traces recently confused one of the founders of the decentralized finance protocol Wonderland Time, who had previously been found guilty of fraud on a large scale in the cryptocurrency world. For the company, transparency will be greater, since all transactions are based on smart contracts and recorded on the blockchain, their numbers will be auditable in almost real time.

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At a time when single sign-on is common – this central solution across Google, Facebook or Apple that allows you to sign up for new sites without having to fill out the usual surveys – a real culture battle over anonymity on the Internet is raging between Web 2.0 and Web3. Countries have long chosen their side. In economic life, the so-called KYC or KYS operations, for know your customer And Get to know your supplier, Requiring companies to verify the identity of their customers and suppliers to ensure that they are not participating in money laundering or financing illegal activities.

Case of anonymity

For the largest publicly listed companies, directors and directors are increasingly taking individual and criminal responsibility for the decisions they make. In social life, with every instance of cyberbullying, we see a proposal to put an end to anonymity on social networks, even for all activities on the Internet. In early July, when the England football team lost the European Championship final to Italy, the loss was followed by a torrent of racist abuse on social media. A petition to the UK government to demand identity verification as a prerequisite for opening a social media account has garnered more than 688,000 signatures, forcing Parliament to debate the issue.

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Let’s be clear: in fact, anonymity remains relatively theoretical, because police around the world can, using IP addresses, discover who is hiding behind their screens. However, surfing the Internet with his true identity will make the punishment much easier and automatic. In 2007, the South Korean government made such a commitment to identification, before retracting the measure’s impracticability. One thing is for sure, we haven’t finished hearing the debate between anonymity and true identity online.


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