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[Blog] Why the SSI community should embrace million dollar apes.

This blog by Animo developer Jan Rietveld was originally posted on Medium on April 11th, 2022.

A few weeks ago, I came across an article about how a Samsung-backed university is issuing NFTs to select graduates. This reminded me of a Reddit post I saw a while back where someone opened his door using Ethereum.

As a self-sovereign identity developer, so from a technical point of view, this is hilarious. I can think of ten ways to open your door that are more secure. But I believe there’s more to these stories. These people are coming up with solutions that are in line with most of the core values we in the SSI space have been working on for years.

Web 3 has seen a big rise in popularity in the last year. A lot of people (including me) are getting to know this new decentralized version of the internet by exploring cryptocurrencies, NFTs, DeFi and Blockchain games.

If you’ve been around for a while, I know exactly what you’re thinking. We’ve all seen these waves of excitement come and go. Most of this stuff is just unfounded hype around cryptocurrency, the Metaverse and other buzzwords to raise venture capital money. In the SSI community, we have a tendency to distance ourselves from it and believe we are working on better, more long term solutions. But fundamentally, these projects don’t differ that much from what we are working on in the SSI space.

  • Some cryptocurrencies provide a safe haven in a world where no country is safe from problems like inflation, corruption or even fraud by introducing a monetary system that is open, transparent and decentralized.
  • Online ownership has been an issue for years, where the most viable solution was dumping your stuff at some centralized organization that handles it for you, while also taking a big chunk from the revenue in the process. NFTs provide a way to solve this issue by creating scarcity, uniqueness and transparency.
  • More recently, the decentralized gaming space gained a lot of popularity by promising more interoperability between the games you play and providing real ownership over the in game assets you obtain, most of which is now handled via black markets.

There is a lot of value in these projects, and by combining them with the identity layer we have been building for years the possibilities could be endless.

For example, while NFTs might not be the best for opening doors or issuing diplomas, they do provide use cases for ownership-based access management, which allows products and services to become tradable. The DeFi space is another good example. It is still incredibly unregulated, and an identity layer that uses verifiable credentials would help DeFi handle the upcoming regulations regarding KYC and AML. Lastly, this recent article from cheqd explains how the uniqueness and scarcity from NFTs combined with verifiable credentials can also make a big impact in the decentralized gaming space. This last item especially shows how much we are still in the middle of the ongoing innovation, and how little we know of what is yet to come.

I think there is a lot of skepticism around NFTs and the crypto space in general among some of my peers right now. But what if we embrace the hype that is created around this technology to show people what we’ve been building for the past 5 years? Instead of hating on apes and pixelated figures, embrace the attention the Web 3 space is getting as a whole and start a conversation with these new crowds that are ready to dive into decentralized technologies with us.

So next time you see someone advocating for why a JPEG is worth half a million, tell them to buy our million dollar Animo APE! Just kidding, but you might spark up a conversation telling them about SSI and what you’ve been doing. You can use our demo for that.


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