Virtual identity: what is it and its role in the Metaverse?

We have built ourselves two identities that somehow complete each other: a physical identity and a virtual identity.

Virtual identity: what is it and its role in the Metaverse?

As individuals, we have been regularly intertwining between online and offline worlds for a couple of decades now. We have built ourselves two identities that somehow complete each other: a physical identity and a virtual identity.

Physical and Virtual Identity:

A mundane identity is a proof that we actually exist. It includes our official papers such as birth certificates and driver’s licenses. Not only that, but our lifestyle, values, beliefs, and behaviors also make up an integral part of it. In this world, it is easy to spot that the person right in front of you is who they claim to be. You trust them, they trust you, and you both communicate normally and are on the same page.

On another end, our virtual identity is a representation of our real selves (most probably) in the online world. For a long time we have been using it to communicate, connect, shop online, etc. As secure as our real-world identity can be, our virtual one is uncontrollable. And although digitized information opens countless opportunities, it can always be threatened and at risk of theft and breach. As opposed to the physical identity, there is no proof that the digital one of the person you are communicating with is authentic. There once were a meme that says “On the Internet, no one knows you are a dog”, and this could not be any truer.

Introduction of Avatars:

With a need of humanizing virtual identities, many companies created services like Bitmoji, Ready Player Me, and Apple’s Memoji. These platforms allow people to embody and visualize their own selves in the virtual world by customizing Avatars. However, the applications did not take into consideration protecting the safety, security, and privacy of users. They do not require any regulation or verification of names when creating an Avatar and data is not preserved and well stored.

Thankfully, 2022 is the year in which the world will witness a revolutionary leap into the new Metaverse using AR, VR, and video technologies. In this parallel universe, the infrastructure it is built upon obligates full authenticity of virtual identities. Additionally, people will have more control over their data by selectively choosing the information they want to disclose on.

Interestingly enough, a person can have multiple virtual identities in the Metaverse that all relate to that exact same person in real life. As an example, there could be one for work and another for personal activities. Avatars, the embodied digital identity, come in two types: VR Avatars and full-body Avatar.

The VR Avatar is one that basically perceives the virtual space from their point of view. This means users can only see the upper body of other Avatars because of the limited capabilities of tracking movement. The full-body Avatar uses a sensor that replicates the whole body’s movements. This type is expected to rapidly develop in masses since Meta’s efforts are all put into growing it.

Bottom Line:

To conclude, it is only fair to say that the Metaverse is changing how we perceive anything around us and within us. It is allowing us to create a new, safe, and secure virtual identity that is representative of our physical one. To go even further, professionals are looking to develop much more inclusive Avatars that outdo already existing ones.

Guoqiang Min

Guoqiang Min

Designhubz Sr. Frontend Engineer