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‘Soulbound’ NFTs: Vitalik Buterin inspired from World of Warcraft

28 Jan 2022 : 01:40
2 min read
  • Vitalik Buterin talked about making NFTs non-tradeable in a recent blog post
  • He said that the transferability functionality of NFTs have their own drawbacks
  • Buterin plans on making NFTs souldbound, just like in the game World of Warcrafts

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin recently published a blog wherein he talked about making NFTs ‘soulbound’ just like in the game World of Warcraft, a massively multiplayer online role-playing game. Buterin also mentioned a few drawbacks of NFTs, which come with their transferability and commercial viability. 

‘Soulbound’ NFTs?

In the World of Warcraft, a soulbound “item, once picked up, cannot be transferred or sold to another player,” noted Buterin. As per Buterin, the NFTs have a social signaling value, and people who own them can flaunt them in their social circles. On the other hand, Buterin also noted Twitter’s integration of NFTs in profile pictures.

Buterin said that the biggest question in obtaining an NFT is the relative difficulty in finding out if the person obtained the NFT by completing a task or has bought it off a secondary market. As a result, WOW’s ‘soulbound’ feature, if tested on NFTs, would represent how the person actually got the NFT by making it non-tradeable.  

The purpose is to prevent other higher-ranked players from passing down NFTs in games to the low-ranked players, speeding up their growth in the game. Buterin said that this transferability feature “makes governance power flow away from the meek who are most likely to provide valuable input to governance and toward the power-hungry who are most likely to cause problems.”


Buterin spoke highly of POAP or proof of attendance protocol. POAPs are those NFT collections that represent the idea that the recipient of the NFT participated in some event. This makes it a good example of a ‘soulbound’ NFT. Buterin further added: 

“While transferable NFTs have their place and can be really valuable on their own for supporting artists and charities, there is also a large and underexplored design space of what non-transferable NFTs could become.”

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