DeSoc or Decentralized Society: New Term Explained

To prevent the world of cryptocurrency and NFTs from final downfall, Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin has joined forces with economist Glen Weyl and Flashbots researcher Puja Ohlhaver to explore something different this year. In 2022, they published cutting-edge research titled “Decentralized Society: Finding Web3’s Soul”. The paper addresses new humane possibilities focused on non-transferable soulbound NFTs. Our article sheds digital light on the main concepts and summarizes the 37-page white paper to provide you with the basics of DeSoc in no time.

Table of Contents

A Richer, Pluralistic Ecosystem Decentralized Society (DeSoc)

The lack of Web3 primitives to represent social identity and human relationships makes NFT artists turn to centralized platforms like Twitter or OpenSea to establish a reputation on the initial provenance and scarcity of the object. Moreover, the Defi ecosystem can’t support some activities present in the real-life economy because of the shortage of native web3 identity. The economic activities include undercollateralized lending or simple contracts. 

The new ecosystem, known as Decentralized Society (DeSoc), is aimed at addressing above-mentioned issues and creating a better future for the Web3

What are “Soulbound Tokens”?

For a better understanding and breakdown, let’s find out what the terms ‘Soul’ and Soulbound Tokens (SBTs) mean. So, ‘Soul’ refers to accounts, individuals’ crypto wallets, etc. Souls can also be institutions like universities, colleges, foundations, companies, and so on. And ‘Soulbound Tokens’ are the tokens held by those accounts. These SBTs appear to be something similar to how we share information in our curricula vitae. However, the true power of the ecosystem emerges when a Soul can issue Soulbound Tokens to other counterparty Souls. A University, for instance, could be a Soul who attests SBTs to graduates, counterparty Souls.

So, Souls represent their commitments, credentials, memberships, and affiliations through SBTs. And now that you understand what actually SBTs and Souls are, let’s delve deep into possible DeSoc use cases.

Souls and NFT Artists

Artists can publish NFTs using their Souls. The former enables buyers to confirm the NFTs’ legitimacy. This means that artists establish their reputation on NFTs and intensify authenticity through Souls. Furthermore, artists can issue their own SBTs and confirm the membership of their NFTs to a collection, thus deepening provenance. As a result, soulbond tokens and social networks they chart protect against plagiarism, forgeries, and other possible threats.

Soul Lending

Web3’s Defi sector is still facing the clunky problem of facilitating uncollateralized lending. As such, SBTs have the potential “to unlock censorship-immune, the bottom-up alternative to top-down commercial and ‘social’ credit system.” The paper’s authors promise that SBTs will enable people to stake their reputation as collateral for a loan instead of having to content money upfront.

Not Losing Your Soul

In the context of DeSoc, losing access to your wallet means losing access to your Soul as well. Besides, the non-transferability of key SBTs brings up a central question: how do people not lose their Souls? The question is especially crucial in the case of one-time issued credentials like educational credentials, employment history, hashes of works of art, etc. The DeSoc concept provides people with a broad paradigm known as SBT community recovery. The idea is to track what communities the user is a part of, and when the recovery is needed, “SBTs can be used for drawing on a maximally broad set of real-time relationships for security”.

Defi vs DeSoc

As the paper’s authors mention, Defi is built on a trustless premise and wholly transferable private property is its obvious limitation. In DeSoc, on the other hand, confirmed parties established absolute trust. CV/Credit report can prove the risk or legitimacy of users and institutions on a live and updating basis.


Although ‘Decentralized Society: Finding Web3’s Soul’ is served as an ambitious blueprint for DeSoc, it promises to create a fully decentralized society where people can connect and work towards the same objectives.

However, the information mentioned in the whitepaper is just the tip of the iceberg known as a Decentralized Society.

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