5th April, 2024

The Safe Case: Decentralized Social and ID

From decentralized social protocols to identity, find out why smart accounts are at the core of building a more efficient, equitable, and human-centric internet in the latest The Safe Case.

Use Case
Account Abstraction
Safe & Jorge Selva


The AI Identity Crisis: Will We Still Know Who We Are?

In our last Safe Case, we covered a near future where sophisticated AI agents roam the internet, interacting with humans and each other, blurring the lines between physical and digital reality. In this world, a troubling question emerges: How will we verify our own identity—our very sense of self—when artificial intelligence becomes indistinguishable from human intelligence?

As AI gets better at mimicking humans online, proving who's real and who's not is becoming a critical challenge. Decentralized identity systems could help, but they're still early stage.

Truly solving this problem will take more than just focusing on the technical side–we'll need to fundamentally rethink what identity and trust mean in an AI-driven world.

What is Identity Anyway?

Our identity is gradually becoming primarily digital. Consequently, our digital identities should be secure, verifiable, and transferable across various platforms, networks, and contexts. This situation prompts questions about privacy, control, and the role of centralized authorities in handling our identities.

To complicate things further, as AI becomes more adept at creating human-like content and interactions, differentiating between real and artificial personas will become increasingly challenging. The necessity for new ways to establish trust and authenticity in our digital relationships is clear.

Enter Worldcoin and World ID Proof of Humanity

World ID is a privacy-preserving proof of personhood system that allows users to verify their human-ness online while maintaining their privacy through zero-knowledge proofs. The system utilizes a custom biometric device called the Orb, which has been designed to provide a long-term, viable solution for issuing AI-safe proof of personhood verifications.

World IDs are issued on the Worldcoin protocol, enabling individuals to prove their humanness to any verifier, including web2 applications, while preserving their privacy. The protocol has the potential to issue other credentials in the future. World ID aims to be personbound, meaning that it should only be used by the individual it was issued to, making it difficult for fraudulent actors to use stolen or acquired World ID credentials. Additionally, the system ensures that individuals can always regain possession of a lost or stolen World ID.

The Worldcoin team has recently open-sourced their Orb hardware, demonstrating their commitment to a decentralized future that is better adapted to the complex needs of digital-first identity.

To date, Worldcoin has deployed 4M accounts, all represented as Safe Smart Accounts on the backend. The view of the Worldcoin team is that emerging AI will necessitate more advanced systems as “proof of personhood”. Identity should be self custodial and should remain outside of the sole control of centralized authorities, while remaining future-proof and flexible in the face of quantum computing and other threats to the existing security model.

Becoming Future-Proof

More so than assets, identity is an invaluable part of our being that must be self custodial by definition.

One of the benefits of Safe Accounts, and the reason why Worldcoin chose to build on top of the Safe stack is the flexbility and customizability that smart accounts provide. EOAs are flexible but ultimately not suited for the task of securing what matters most. Say your passport is stored on your browser based wallet and is hacked. You're stuck and can't move. With a smart account, you can quickly rotate the compromised key and move along without any issues. Further, governments could have recovery mechanisms that allow you to recover your documents in certain cases.

Worldcoin will continue to onboard users and a larger share will increasingly come to use these accounts for transacting, validating social interactions, and much more.

A Movement Towards Decentralized Non Custodial Social

Decentralized social protocols like Farcaster and Lens are demonstrating the potential for new, user-controlled social experiences and viable creator revenue models. These protocols allow developers to quickly build innovative features, such as Farcaster Frames, which enable identity verification and in-app purchases directly from users' social feeds. Much like how DeFi protocols can be combined like Lego blocks, social protocols will allow users to customize their online interactions based on their preferences and needs.

However, securing user accounts is critical in this new paradigm. Lens has already integrated support for Safe accounts, while Farcaster is actively working to make smart accounts first-class citizens at the protocol level. Smart accounts provide enhanced security and recovery options compared to traditional blockchain wallets.

One intriguing TikTok-killer application is, which allows users to invest directly in their favorite content creators. In the current YouTube ecosystem, value is captured primarily by the platform and top creators. But what if fans could "invest" early in emerging talent, gain access to exclusive content, and share in the ad revenue? Many in the crypto community believe this model represents the future of creator economies.

Another notable example is Crypto: The Game, a 10-day, survival-themed virtual game where players link their Twitter accounts and vote to eliminate competitors until a single winner claims the prize pool. The game's first season attracted high-profile participants from Crypto Twitter, including 3LAU, Packy McCormick, Jesse Pollak, and Bored Elon Musk.

This year, gamers mint an NFT worth 0.1 ETH (on Base) to participate, with the proceeds going into a collective pool. One wallet is limited to one mint each. The total prize money is held and secured in Safe's battle-tested smart account infrastructure, with multisig security and other granular modularity permissions and controls, until the time is right to release the funds to the ultimate winner.

The onchain infrastructure allows participants and also sleuths to verifiably track the transactions, recipients, and owners openly and transparently at every stage.

As the lines continue to blur between social and finance, we’ll see an explosion of new applications and primitives that weren’t possible until now.

Where this all goes and why Smart Accounts matter

The intersection of identity, social and crypto could transform finance, governance, and resource distribution resulting in new emerging and self-sustaining communities. Instant, borderless, and accessible to all, digital money has the potential to connect people financially on a global scale. It's safer than cash, less vulnerable to theft and forgery, and can be a lifeline in crises where fast, cross-border transactions are critical.

But the benefits extend beyond finance. As AI blurs the line between human and machine, a privacy-preserving, sybil-resistant proof of personhood becomes essential. It could eliminate spam, enable truly democratic online governance, and serve as a "verified human" stamp on every interaction.

Combining digital identity with programmable money opens up new possibilities for aligning incentives and allocating resources fairly. Fraud-proof loyalty programs, referral systems that reward true engagement, universal basic income that reaches every unique individual—these are just the beginning.

As we build the next internet, getting identity right will be key to creating a more efficient, equitable, and human-centric. And we believe this is a perfect example of why smart accounts should be at the core of this.

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