Snowcrash, a new NFT marketplace launching this spring built on the Solana blockchain, announced today it’s integrating identity verification protocol Civic in a move to curb bot manipulation on the Snowcrash platform.
Launched November 2021 by Jesse Dylan and Walter De Brouwer, Snowcrash, named after the 1992 cyberpunk novel by Neal Stephenson, says using the Civic’s Civic Pass protocol is a way to protect artists and fans from bad actors looking to manipulate the NFT market. Civic Pass is a gatekeeper that requires users to complete a task before accessing a website. These tasks can take the form of completing a cAPTCHA or using an app to verify the user is a human and not a bot.
“Through a practice similar to ticket scalping, botting has plagued NFT mints,” Snowcrash founder Jesse Dylan said in a press release. “Civic elegantly resolves this issue for us by identifying human participants and prohibiting bot participation, giving our NFT partners and IP holders like Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group peace of mind.”
Non-fungible tokens, better known as NFTs, are unique tokens that exist on a blockchain like Ethereum or Solana. They serve as proof of ownership of digital photos, videos, and audio files. The Solana blockchain is a popular rival to Ethereum for minting NFTs because of its lower fees, but this also makes it a target for scammers and market manipulators using bots.
Civic has made its mission to combat bots in the NFT space. Last November, it released Ignite Pass, a free version of its Civic Pass. With Civic and Ignite Pass, NFT buyers must prove their “liveness.” Civic says this helps NFT projects maintain equitability and transparency. Snowcrash says it will use Civic Pass to restrict access from bots and protect user privacy.
Since its launch in 2015, Civic has gone a long way in preventing bot manipulation, saying its protocol has been used for over 200 mints and blocked a reported 900,000+ bots. But the road has been bumpy.
In January, the creators of the Big Daddy Ape Club NFT collection were able to steal 9,136 SOL, or around $1.3 million at the time, even though Civic’s Verified by Civic Pass protocol had verified the project. Civic says the company has discontinued Verified by Civic Pass, which focused on doxxing; Snowcrash will use Civic Pass to solely focus on preventing bot spamming.
With Civic Pass, customers can also perform location checks, identity verification checks, age checks, and sanction checks to satisfy their business or compliance requirements.
“Civic is always improving our product offerings to our partners,” CEO Chris Hart explained to Decrypt via email. “Civic Pass has recently been through a few thoughtful revisions that reduce friction and elevate the user experience by shortening user steps.”
The Shine Comes Off ‘Ethereum-Killer’ Solana
The entertainment industry has taken a strong interest in the new medium. Will Smith, Snoop Dogg, Dolly Parton, Mila Kunis, and PUBG game maker Krafton have all entered the NFT market as creators or investors. Despite a vocal pushback against NFTs on social media, last month alone saw more than $4 billion in NFT sales, according to DappRadar, atop $21 billion from 2021.
Venture capitalists are taking note, earlier this month, a new $30 million NFT investment fund, Curated, launched with backing from Andreessen Horowitz’s Marc Andreessen and Chris Dixon.