The so-called “loneliness epidemic” is gripping people, no doubt exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic — enough that the US Surgeon General recently pointed to the impact of isolation and deteriorating relationships on adults. Could Web3 somehow help reverse the trend and play a role in facilitating more real-world connections?
That’s the goal of PairedWorld, a new crypto-fueled project developed by a group of health experts and technologists. It aims to catalyze human connections and interactions through the Web3 framework and Ethereum-based token, effectively putting a new spin on the “social token” concept.
“The key to health and happiness boils down to one very simple yet very powerful thing, and these good relationships,” Raluca Cherciu, co-founder and CEO of Unpaired, tells Decrypt.
Unveiled at today’s Non Fungible (NFC) conference in Lisbon, PairedWorld is powered by Unpaired – associated with the existing Party Degens NFT project – with help from Horizen Lab Ventures and NFT Studios.
The creators say they’re not trying to create a new community around PairedWorld, but instead “add value to existing communities and give them partial ownership of this new PairedWorld ecosystem,” Cherciu explains. “It’s an alliance.”
Existing NFT owners from a variety of existing communities will be able to join the PairedWorld ecosystem, where they will also be given a soul token called SOUL that acts as a “reputation signaling device.” The unique ecosystem spans many blockchains and many communities, in an effort to help break down divisions between tribal NFT groups.
Depending on how long the user has held the NFT and how active they are in the accompanying community, they will also be rewarded with PairedWorld card tokens. These tokens will be distributed regularly and will allow users to attend physical world events – or if their reputation is high enough and their identity is confirmed via a verified social media profile, create events of their own.
“There is something really amazing about the power of human connection, that invisible bond that makes us feel understood, appreciated, and part of something bigger than ourselves,” Cherciu began. “Our ultimate goal is to facilitate, reward, and motivate these meaningful interactions, and to build an ecosystem where real, deep relationships truly thrive.”
However, during the development of the project, the PairedWorld Alliance realized that it was important to provide more “tangible and immediate incentives” – and this is where the paired token comes in.
Attending the events will reward users with PAIRED, an ERC-20 token that can be traded on a decentralized exchange for other cryptocurrencies, or a local currency of their choice.
Developed over the past 18 months, PairedWorld, a non-profit organization based in Zug, Switzerland, said it worked with leading neuroscientists and psychologists to ensure they were motivated to “correct behavior”. The more people who participate in their NFT communities or the PairedWorld ecosystem, the higher their reputation level and the more rewards they will be eligible to receive.
“We have a lot of mechanisms in place to incentivize people to continue to participate and work for the good of the ecosystem,” says Cherciu.
Cherciu told Decrypt that real-world events can include anything from meeting at a concert to just going to dinner with other PairedWorld members, with a mobile app designed to record attendance and track the length of the event. In the future, the initiative will look at rewarding online community activity. But for now, the focus is on real-world connections.
The idea for PairedWorld came about through the COVID-enforced lockdowns when Web3 provided an “optimistic collaborative environment that allowed people to create communities without borders,” says Cherciu. “It gave people that sense of relief and hope.”
Some communities have struggled to navigate the ups and downs of the NFT market, however, speculation, price volatility, and the proliferation of scams have hit token-driven groups. Cherciu is unwavering in its belief that tokens can be used to bring meaningful benefits to people, however, adding that “no one should feel truly alone in this vast digital world.”
PairedWorld cites studies to support its broader aims, including the aforementioned “epidemic of loneliness and isolation” from US Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy, which indicates that social existence has become more and more isolated over the past few decades. Elsewhere, an 85-year study by Harvard University revealed that close relationships are the primary factor in helping people live longer, happier lives.
“We are all united by the common goal of proving that emerging technology can indeed be harnessed to create positive social impact, and ultimately improve the quality of life of individuals and communities around the world.” she adds. “This is a huge opportunity to use technology to revolutionize how we form and deepen human connection.”