In today's digital age, the line between the real and the virtual has blurred, leading to the rise of pseudonymity. While such a concept might have been unthinkable years ago, it is now an integral part of our digital lives, shaping identities and economies on the internet.
This collection of articles offers an exploration into the pseudonym economy, highlighting the various facets of pseudonymous identities, their benefits and challenges, and how they are revolutionizing entrepreneurship, investments, and journalism. From the role of pseudonymity in crypto, to controversies around doxxing and the popularity of virtual streaming, these articles provide a comprehensive understanding of pseudonymity.
In this blog, Rex Woodbury discusses the evolving nature of digital identities, focusing on the increasing trend of pseudonymous personas in the world of web3. Using examples such as Miko, a virtual streamer controlled by a real-life woman known as The Technician, and Ironmouse, a vTuber who copes with an autoimmune disorder through a digital persona, Woodbury delves into the significance of digital personas in both entertainment and work.
This guide from Bored Elon Musk walks through how founders who choose to operate pseudonymously can provide several advantages. Pseudonymity allows founders for creative experimentation and risk-taking that can help break them free from bias, giving them the opportunity to venture into new fields outside their perceived expertise.
Though there are clear advantages, pseudonymous founders can also face challenges, including potential exposure of their true identity, limited access to traditional sources of capital, and difficulties in building a team without revealing their true identities. Despite these, pseudonymity can be a powerful tool in today's digital world.
In the world of crypto startups, pseudonymity is increasingly common. This blog describes how investors seeking a competitive edge in the crypto space are creating frameworks to evaluate pseudonymous founders, looking at aspects such as past projects, Github participation, on-chain history, and references. Pseudonymous founders must forfeit all prior work under their "true" identities, starting from scratch to build a new reputation. The article says how current investors are more comfortable with hybrid teams, featuring both identified and pseudonymous founders, but the rise of pseudonymity is seen as a positive trend.
This New York Times article explores the nature of anonymity online, with studies showing that anonymous users can be more sensitive to group norms. John Herrman writes that the intertwining of our digital and offline identities has led to a commodification of personal data, raising concerns about our ability to control our own identity.
The Block writes about how anonymous developer Transmissions joining crypto venture capital firm Paradigm as a research engineer. Previously a core developer and founding member of Rari Capital, Transmissions is known for his work on reducing transaction fees in the crypto sphere.
This article was written as a result of an investigation by BuzzFeed that revealed the identities of two co-founders of Bored Ape Yacht Club. The revelation sparked outrage in the crypto community, with many accusing BuzzFeed of doxxing for ad revenue. Others, outside of the crypto world, saw it as standard business journalism, questioning why only a select few should know who is behind a billion-dollar company. The controversy brings up the question of whether crypto founders should be able to evade the public scrutiny that other business leaders face.
This piece is about Japan's forthcoming invoice filing system that has been criticized by creative industries due to a requirement that invoices be filed under real names, which will be publicly accessible. The system raises privacy concerns for individuals, like manga artists and Virtual YouTubers, who typically use pseudonyms. Critics argue the system prioritizes corporate convenience over privacy, and could place a heavier tax burden on freelancers.
In this Wall Street Journal article, Ann-Marie Alcántara writes about virtual streaming, or VTubing, where online personalities use avatars or digital images to represent themselves while maintaining their offline identities. The use of VTubing allows individuals to gain an online presence while remaining anonymous, helping to evade harassment, negativity, or personal physical or mental health struggles. VTubing has surged in popularity, providing streamers an opportunity for income while maintaining a degree of separation from audiences.
This blog by Entrepreneur gives an overview of the current pseudonymous landscape. In it, the author explores its differences from anonymity by having a consistent identity, just not one linked to a real-world persona. The rise of pseudonymity provides a degree of protection against attacks and allows for unbiased assessment of ideas and content, however noting that it does not support evasion of accountability for negative actions.
In response to a New York Times article discovering the surname of the writer behind Slate Star Codex, CoinDesk is pushing for a no-doxxing policy, arguing for the respect of pseudonymity in an age where online reputation can be built without real names. CoinDesk shows the importance of privacy and consent and states it will only reveal identities when there is an overwhelming public interest, rejecting unnecessary identity disclosure as an invasive practice.