High Fidelity Introduces Blockchain-Backed Digital Asset Registry, Economy

High Fidelity Inc. introduced a digital marketplace for the High Fidelity open-source VR platform, which uses blockchain technology to track ownership of digital items. High Fidelity also introduced a cryptocurrency to handle in-app transactions.

High Fidelity’s digital marketplace made its debut with the private beta release of Avatar Island, a virtual mall where you can buy clothing and accessories for your virtual avatar. At launch, Avatar Island offers more than 300 items to customize your appearance that were made by digital artists from around the world.

The items that you purchase from High Fidelity’s Avatar Island are certified by High Fidelity’s Digital Asset Registry (DAR) with a digital fingerprint. The DAR is a publicly auditable blockchain service, which enables anyone to track the chain of ownership of any item--High Fidelity calls this "Proof of Provenance."

The blockchain backed Proof of Provenance service ensures that digital assets cannot be altered or duplicated. As High Fidelity Inc. put it; “It’s a form of proof no on can alter, delete, or deny.” It also enables High Fidelity domain owners to put limitations on the types of items that they permit within their virtual spaces, such as enforcing a dress code.

Along with the blockchain-backed asset registry system, High Fidelity Inc. introduced a cryptocurrency called High Fidelity Coin (HFC), which would be used for all in-app transactions. Like any other cryptocurrency, you must store HFC in a cryptographically secured wallet. Unlike any other cryptocurrency, HFC’s wallet isn’t a separate piece of software; it’s built into High Fidelity, so you must be in the app to access your funds.

High FidelityInc. is currently running a closed beta for the Avatar Island marketplace, and as such, the company has not set a value for HFC coin. To kickstart the in-app economy, the company is giving 10,000 HFC coins to everyone who participates in the private beta.

High Fidelity Inc. said that the digital marketplace is just the beginning for its Digital Asset Registry system. In the future, the company intends to use blockchain technology for identity control and other opportunities.

The High Fidelity social VR platform is available for free on Steam, and it supports the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive headset. For a chance to gain access to the Avatar Island private beta, fill out High Fidelity’s registration form.

 Kevin Carbotte is a contributing writer for Tom's Hardware who primarily covers VR and AR hardware. He has been writing for us for more than four years.