Gamium wants to build the new social network of the metaverse based on interoperable digital identity associated with avatars. In July 2022 it attracted investment from Wayra, Telefonica’s open innovation initiative. Last year Wayra partnered with Meta to work jointly on its Metaverse Activation Programme, enabling startups to access Meta’s technology. Yesterday Gamium announced its successful participation in the program.
Gamium’s CEO Alberto Rosas said it had been working closely with Meta’s AI team and together its technology makes web3 and the metaverse more accessible. “We believe we’re going to have a lot of synergies in the future with them,” said Rosas. Given it’s a web3 startup, one of the main applications is to enable payments in one click.
Details are thin, but its identity system combines NFTs and self sovereign identity (SSI). Decentralized identity allows users to keep control over their own personal data and is not on chain. In contrast, the non-fungible token (NFT) is on chain and can link on chain activity across multiple spaces.
Will it harness the privacy of Decentralized Identity?
On the one hand, this two part identity appears secure, but depending on the details. there’s the potential to leak a massive amount of data.
Some decentralized identity systems try to ensure that each piece of personal data cannot be linked to another piece. For example, your health data cannot be linked to your credit score. Effectively you have a different identity for each. There’s a real risk by having an NFT as your online presence with a link to the decentralized identity (DID) that the separation enabled by SSI is undermined, and data from your health profile becomes cross linked with other data such as your credit score or payments.
Given the user has control, we’re seeing a proliferation of this sort of design promoted as a benefit. It could be advantageous to corporates that can build a rich picture of customers. But it’s likely a step in the wrong direction regarding privacy.
This is not a criticism of Gamium because the details of how their system works have not been shared.
Telefonica’s blockchain and metaverse activities
Wayra and Telefonica are not new to this space. In the metaverse realm there are at least eight startups active in its accelerator, including web3 initiatives MetaSoccer, CrossMint and IoT network Helium which is backed by Deutsche Telekom.
Telefonica launched its Activation Programme for IoT, blockchain and AI at the start of the pandemic. It’s been involved in the Spanish Alastria blockchain consortium. It backed Spanish carbon trading startup ClimateTrade as well as numerous telecoms-focused initiatives.