Projecting, being and identifying oneself in the Metaverse
In the Metaverse: to be or not to be. To identify oneself or to remain anonymous. To look physically similar or not. These are converging and relevant themes. In this informative article, you will find an easy explanation to address the issues that arise when you want to implement a private metaverse in your organization.
In addition, we will tell you how:
- The design of avatars and outfits impacts the system design of your company.
- Manage your clients or employees’ Onboarding to access your metaverse.
- Univocal identity eases the moderation of a space and law enforcement.
How do you prefer to be identified with the metaverse? With a photorealistic avatar like mine, created by Union Avatars? Or with a more comic-like one, like that of my colleague Germán? In both cases, the avatar gets to simulate how we look. Or maybe you prefer a pixelated avatar that inherits some of your identifying traits? The logic of being similar to how you look in physical space is the wish to project yourself just as you are in real life, and to be visually identified with your identity.
Obviously, your looks in the metaverse do not have to match your real-life appearance. It can be inspired by the way you want to project yourself, like in video games.
The settings for the looks of the avatar also have to do with the characteristics of the metaverse. For example, in metaverses created with Spacecreator, from our partner Futura Spaces, avatars have a similar aesthetic and are also gender fluid: people exist, but genders don’t. That’s because in a professional environment, what is relevant is the exchange of ideas. Also, avatars have a simplified functional aesthetic and are similar to each other because it has been proven that the greater the similarity between avatars, the easier it is for people to interact.
Just as we change our clothes according to the occasion in physical life, it also makes sense that we do it in life in the metaverse. In some metaverses you can buy outfits. In private ones, you can even dress in your company's outfits, which are usually based on a corporate system design. It is something similar to wearing the feathers, paints and arrows of your tribe. Do you want to look like your tribe or like the neighboring tribe?
This might sound a bit strange to some, but police groups, salespersons in department stores, medical or airlines personnel, or car company workers usually wear the uniform (or outfit) of their company. There are even banks that have the color of their tie or neckerchief regulated by Pantone.
Therefore, it is important that avatars in a specific metaverse share the same graphic line or a similar outfit configuration. It is one of the options given in its implementation.
It is clear that one physical person can have more than one avatar, one for each metaverse, or even several avatars in the same metaverse. Obviously, each avatar can wear different outfits.
Although I have insisted that my avatar looks like me, I could have been impersonated by someone, by an artificial intelligence (AI) or even simply for aesthetic purposes, as it already happens with some game avatars that look suspiciously like certain Hollywood characters. There are also avatars of famous singers that are not managed by themselves, but by their “avatar manager”, even though the artist or their record label are responsible for what these avatars do in the metaverse.
Some people believe that there are no laws in the Metaverse. That is not true. At least, there are the rules established in each metaverse (content moderation) and, if there are none, it is compulsory to fulfill those of the country of the company managing the metaverse, or the place where it operates. The law applies even if the metaverse is decentralized. This is the same discussion as at the beginning of the Internet, back in 1996, and the one that surely existed in the American West during the second half of the 19th century. If there is a scam, a theft of digital assets, cyberbullying, a misuse of the intellectual property of a brand, etc. there is a crime. Another matter is the speed with which the offender is discovered.
In addition, economic activities in the Metaverse are taxed, whether you operate with cryptocurrencies or not and get rich by buying and selling digital assets.
In any country or space, without legal security there is no business. And for crimes to be prosecuted, disputes to be mediated or transactions to take place, the issue of identity must be clearly resolved. And the appearance of the avatar does not provide the identity behind it.
It is necessary to verify the digital identity of the users and have it associated with their different avatars. In the same way, it is required to perform a digital onboarding process for the avatar, to confirm that it corresponds to the user as a natural person, and not to an AI. In addition, this process must be continuous (in the background) in order to verify the digital identity at all times. You can find an example below:
If I have a bank account and I visit my bank’s office in the metaverse, as an avatar, I must perform a KYC process. In addition, for the duration of my visit, it must be verified that I am still the person visiting this office. Other processes such as AML are also necessary, so I need a univocal digital identity.
This identity problem also occurs in hybrid work environments, as Microsoft anticipated, when there are avatars that replace us in meetings.
In another metaverse, my avatar might be different and even have separate associated digital assets. A digital asset can be my house in a specific metaverse, a piece of land that I have purchased or a basket of cryptocurrencies that I could use to buy other assets. Therefore, my digital identity should be interoperable and if I have to pay, buy or exchange digital assets, I need a secure and reliable digital wallet like the one of our partner Unnax.
If you carry out transactions with your clients in a private metaverse, you should have them identified. If your metaverse is private with your employees, it is recommended to integrate your company's login systems via SAML with the metaverse and/or with your active directory.
There is a current oriented to identify users through Self-Sovereign ID (SSI) and another one based on a digital ID provided by the authorities of each country. There is even an initiative for the European Digital Identity. In the near future, all currents and initiatives will have to be considered
At Opentrends, we implement and dynamize private metaverses integrated with the companies’ management systems. We can help you design the space, the functionality or the kind of interaction that you want to develop, as well as the image and outfits of your avatars. Afterwards, we can help in the promotion of events, stores, showcases, staff training or innovation.
We can also dynamize co-creative spaces of your brand with customers, so that the physical experience is mixed with the virtual one.
Do not hesitate in contacting us for more information.