HomeCryptoWhat’s the next buzzword after Soulbound Tokens? The answer’s in World of...

What’s the next buzzword after Soulbound Tokens? The answer’s in World of Warcraft


Image Credits: Blizzard Entertainment

Soulbound Tokens from World of Warcraft started trending after being quoted by Buterin. Can we spot the next crypto buzzword within the online game?

The founder of the Ethereum network, Vitalik Buterin, made waves in the Web3 space when he released his thesis about a new type of digital asset called Soulbound Tokens, or SBTs, in May 2022. In his paper titled “Decentralized Society: Finding Web3’s Soul”, he highlighted that SBTs were key to the next phase of creating a richer Web3 ecosystem known as a Decentralised Society, or DeSoc for short. The new asset could create beneficial complex functions such as social recovery of wallets via anointed guardians and preventing the creation of multiple pseudo-identities to name a few.

But what is a Soulbound Token (SBT)? It is essentially a type of non-fungible token (NFT) that cannot be transferred out of one’s digital wallet. Let’s recap what an NFT is — they are digital pieces of information that has its own unique identification, and it is encoded on the blockchain. Unlike cryptocurrencies, where one token is the same as another and is considered fungible, no two NFTs are exactly alike which makes it non-fungible.

While standard NFTs can be traded and transferred with other users, SBTs take the idea further by locking the asset within a digital wallet and making it non-transferable. The wallets or accounts are identified as ‘Souls’, and a person may have multiple ‘Souls’ which correspond to different facets of their life. The ‘Soul’ could be related to their education, their employment history, or even a membership for club access.

The term comes from the fantasy massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) World of Warcraft, where soulbound items were prevented from being traded, sold, or transferred to another character. Interestingly, the idea of Soulbound Tokens first appeared in January 2022 where Buterin posted his musings about the concept on his blog.

Needless to say, the Web3 space has been all abuzz about Soulbound Tokens as the next big thing and Ethereum proposals have been raised to take the idea further. Interest in the term spiked in May when the paper was released, and it has been trending ever since. It must have been a confusing time for World of Warcraft players too; imagine searching for more information about in-game soulbound items and being directed to crypto sites instead.

It’s no secret that Buterin was an avid player of the World of Warcraft MMORPG before he started his foray into the world of cryptocurrencies.

The crypto lore around Ethereum’s birth by Polygon media states that Blizzard Entertainment nerfed Buterin’s game character by removing a damage mechanism from his warlock’s “Siphon Life’ spell. In his about.me bio, he said “I cried myself to sleep, and on that day I realized what horrors centralized services can bring. I soon decided to quit.”

This trauma led him to find another purpose in life which he found in Bitcoin. With a newfound passion for cryptocurrencies, he went on to develop the Ethereum network.

Or so the story goes. While Buterin did join the MMORPG in his younger days, he was not as obsessed with the game as we would like to think.

And while we would like to imagine he geeked out and nameed his newly developed network “Ethereum” after the sub-faction of astral travelers within World of Warcraft, he has clarified that the term comes from the word ether, or luminiferous ether specifically, which is an outdated scientific concept for a medium that propagates light.

It’s a shame, since we prefer the lore of a nondescript gaming update inspiring a genius to create the future.

Yet despite his clarifications about his past with World of Warcraft, there are occasional references to the game from time to time within the crypto space. One of them are Soulbound Tokens, which as mentioned are in-game items that cannot be given or traded to others and referenced by Buterin for NFTs with the same mechanics. The other one is the name of the Ethereum developer community termed the Fellowship of Ethereum Magicians, which to be honest gives a fantasy-like connotation found in World of Warcraft or Lord of the Rings.

This leads to the next question — could the next crypto buzzword be found in World of Warcraft? While there aren’t many commonalities between an MMORPG and a blockchain, the hype around Soulbound Tokens certainly implies so. After spending countless hours pouring over the WoW wiki pages and forums, I believe we’ve found our next potential crypto buzzwords.

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