NFTs & The Future of Usernames

Image from Nametag

Usernames are a foundational element of just about every service on the Internet. And while most of the Internet and its services have evolved at just about the speed of light, username tech at large is still very much running in the 90’s. They are the discrete digital assets that we use to identify our online selves, and are often treated as a sort of real estate; that is, they possess scarcity, demand, and therefore, value.

In fact, platform usernames are constantly sold like real estate… if real estate were contraband or illegal drugs. Platforms at large flat out disallow the sale of usernames — yet turn handles over to celebrities and copyright holders. Sales, when they do happen, are pushed to grey markets, and true username “ownership” is far from immutable.

The current situation is thus:

  • Usernames are inherently valuable
  • They cannot be safely sold or transferred
  • They can easily be stolen (or copyright claimed)

Usernames are valuable — but ownership is vulnerable.

The building blocks exist for a robust & recognized economy of names — but until recently, technology had held things back. It was foolhardy to expect the social platforms adopt “open” naming systems, if not on the basis of architectural complexity alone.

How NFTs solve the username problem

At the core of the problem with usernames is technology — not agenda. Social platforms explicitly don’t allow names to be bought and sold, because if they did, they’d now be liable for a host of complex brokerage issues, including safe transfer, storage, escrow, and more. As it sits, an account hack that results in your “OG” Twitter username being lost is not a direct financial liability to Twitter — the username has no “value”, as per their ToS.

Integrating NFT usernames fixes all of these technological problems in one fell swoop. True ownership of a username is now secure. Transfer is safe. And brokerage can be handled by any number of robust sales platforms like OpenSea. The economy of names is no longer confined to illicit markets, and it flourishes. A lovely sight, indeed.

Universal Usernames

While changing platform usernames into NFTs does fix a host of problems and starts to expand the economy of names, there is still one VERY major factor that will hold the sector back, NFTs or otherwise…

Universality.

Usernames have an inherent trait that vastly limits both their current value and overall growth potential: they’re tied to single platforms.

At present, the value of a given username is fundamentally tied to the platform it exists on — and regardless of current network strength, it is hard (and risky) to bet on any web service‘s long term sticking power. Empires rise and fall, and social platforms of any type, whether it be social media, games, forums, or any other medium, are no different.

The value of a username on a given platform scales with platform growth, and diminishes with platform decay.

Meet Nametag: The Future of Usernames

Nametag

Nametag is a new, opt-in second layer solution to the username problem.

Nametag is an ERC-721 project that allows users to mint, store, trade, and use uniquely-named NFTs as their universal username.

The search function on Nametag

It will seamlessly allow for any platform to provide Nametag support as an opt-in service option for end users. Whenever a new service is added to the network, users will be able to display their Nametags alongside native platform handles, and view others’ Nametags as well — with each consequent opt-in user adding to the overall network effect.

Nametag allows any platform to partake in the economy of names without having to invest in new username infrastructure. It is a simple, easily implementable way for platforms to utilize NFT usernames.

At launch, Nametag serves to fill two major purposes:

  • Offer an easy solution for platforms wanting to integrate NFT usernames
  • Transform usernames into universal, cross-platform assets
Two “named” Nametags alongside a blank one on OpenSea

By meeting these goals at launch, Nametag will position itself to be a major player in pushing forward the future of usernames, and help to usher in an era of truly open username protocol on the internet.

To learn more about Nametag & stay up to date with project developments, join the official Telegram channel here: https://t.me/joinchat/dMJkwTrr-u9iMTgx

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nametag.org

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