A new World Economic Forum report, co-authored with Accenture, dives into the concept of metaverse identity. The report pushes for a secure, inclusive, and privacy-respecting approach to this identity. It emphasizes the many facets of identity in the metaverse, including how we present ourselves digitally, the complexities of our data, and even the digital entities we create. All these elements are crucial for feeling like we truly belong in this virtual space.

Drawing on the ideas of over 150 global experts, the report argues for a collaborative effort across different disciplines to tackle the challenges of identity in the metaverse. It underlines the importance of building the metaverse with equality and accessibility at its core. Additionally, the report stresses the need for responsible data practices and inclusive design. principles.

"The metaverse, thought of as the future version of the internet, continues to garner research, development and investment interest around the world. It has immense potential to reshape the way individuals live, work and interact.

As the convergence of extended reality (XR) technologies blur the boundaries between physical and virtual worlds, it becomes imperative to address the topic of “identity” to ensure an inclusive, equitable, accessible, secure and privacypreserving metaverse. This report highlights the role metaverse identity plays in designing humanfirst experiences1 and catalyses stakeholders to navigate the complexities of metaverse identity.

Metaverse identity encompasses:

– Representation: including personal, social and role identity, be it through avatars, pseudonyms or other digital expressions
– Data: capturing the intricate web of knowledge about individuals generated by metaversesupporting hardware and software
– Identification (ID): be it through driver’s licences, government-issued IDs, passports, birth certificates, attestations, labels, or usernames and passwords.

These layers span human identities and the advent of digital entities – avatars, virtual agents, digital replicas and other assets that contribute to the rich tapestry of metaverse inhabitants.

As people spend more time exploring, playing and socializing in digital experiences, a person’s metaverse identity will be central to their day-to-day life as well as to the way they express their personal identity. Education on what it is and how to use it safely will be transformational.

Responsible innovation is key

Given the broad socio-technical concept of identity, the implications and insights within this document are pertinent to a broader audience beyond those who focus primarily on the construct of digital ID. A multistakeholder, diverse group must come together to navigate identity challenges and sculpt a metaverse that is secure, beneficial and equitable for all. Therefore, metaverse identity requires ongoing input and collaboration from key stakeholders, including:

– Design teams
– Academia
– Business leaders – in diverse fields ranging from security, marketing and HR to strategy
– Government entities – such as policy-makers and law enforcement
– Civil society and stakeholders from other assorted backgrounds – such as standards associations, etc.

While foundational elements of identity management and the myriad of identity system archetypes2 (e.g. centralized, federated and decentralized systems) and supporting technologies, such as blockchain, remain relevant, this report goes beyond questions of infrastructure and system management.

This report examines identity as a means of crafting digital belonging and presence. By highlighting identity considerations, responsible data practices and inclusive design principles, this report aims to support stakeholders in conversations about how to navigate metaverse identity responsibly and ethically across data, representation, ID and digital entities."
In comclusion the Report says:
"The discussions above underscore the centrality – and complexity – of identity in the metaverse. Identity is not a singular construct; it encapsulates data, representation and identification across analogue humans and digital entities. The stakes are high. As people navigate this new terrain, their sense of belonging, privacy, security and trust will be anchored to their digital identities. A successful transition to this new metaverse era requires more than just immersive hardware and software; it demands a concerted effort from stakeholders globally to rethink the notions of identity beyond a digital ID or identity access and management system. Policy-makers, academics, regulators, law enforcement and design teams must rally together to ensure that this new realm is constructed on the tenets of equality, inclusivity, accessibility, authenticity and trust. Without trust, the vast potential of this space risks being undermined. The metaverse could be fertile ground for powerful manipulative tactics, putting the onus on the global community to establish robust frameworks that not only facilitate the growth of the metaverse but also safeguard its integrity. As the metaverse evolves, this community issues a clarion call: the journey ahead should prioritize human-first values, ensuring a metaverse that is not only economically prosperous but also a beacon of human rights, equality and sustainability"

You can download the report HERE