High Fidelity Embraces Blockchain For Economy And Ownership

by Ian Hamilton • December 5th, 2017

Social VR startup High Fidelity is adding a blockchain-based economy and ownership system.

I recently met in VR with High Fidelity co-founder and CEO Philip Rosedale, whose prior experience with Second Life has informed his thinking as the company explores digital currency and how to support a VR economy.  Today the company is announcing the launch of “Avatar Island” where “High Fidelity users can purchase more than 300 items for their avatars, all contributed by digital artists from around the world.”

According to a blog post by High Fidelity COO Tom Schofield:

These items are the first digital assets to be certified on High Fidelity’s blockchain service, the Digital Asset Registry (DAR), a decentralized, publicly auditable ledger that serves as a record of transactions made by High Fidelity users. Each item is uniquely identified with a digital fingerprint (a hash algorithm) and can be purchased using High Fidelity’s blockchain currency, High Fidelity Coin (HFC).

The Digital Asset Registry (DAR) system is intended to also prove the ownership and characteristics of a virtual object. People could use the information to regulate which objects are allowed into their virtual space.

“For example, the owner of a Steampunk-themed space might limit items to theme-appropriate clothing and accessories purchased from approved vendors, or provided for free by the owner herself,” Schofield wrote.

Schofield also mentions the possibility of using DAR to purchase a virtual object and get a coupon for the same object in the real world. He adds:

The DAR is an important part of High Fidelity’s commitment to a decentralized future for virtual reality and the digital world. Over time, it will expand to provide a variety of digital proof services, such as identity control, as outlined in recent posts by our CEO, Philip Rosedale. In the future, other digital services may even use the DAR to record independently verifiable transactions on their own platforms.

Users can submit new items for sale via the High Fidelity Marketplace. There’s also a request to participate in the closed beta for the commerce functionality.

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