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Verify Your Humanity: Worldcoin’s Iris Scans Unlock the Promise of Free Cryptocurrency

News | Jul 27, 2023

Worldcoin - Verify Your Humanity: Worldcoin's Iris Scans Unlock the Promise of Free Cryptocurrency

Image: Worldcoin

Worldcoin, a project by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, is scanning users' irises worldwide👁️, offering a digital ID and free cryptocurrency, despite privacy concerns and regulatory scrutiny.

Founded by Sam Altman, the CEO of ChatGPT developer OpenAI, Worldcoin launched on Monday, with iris scans taking place in countries like Britain, Japan, and India. The project has already issued IDs for over two million people in 120 countries, mostly during a trial period over the last two years.

Worldcoin claims that its system could pave the way for an "AI-funded" universal basic income. The concept of a universal basic income sees all citizens paid a set salary regardless of their means. However, it's not clear how Worldcoin plans to achieve this. 🌐💰

Launch and Rollout

  • At a crypto conference in Tokyo, attendees queued in front of a gleaming silver globe, the device used for iris scanning. After the scan, they waited to claim the 25 free Worldcoin tokens the company offers to verified users. The excitement was palpable, with placards stating: "Orbs are here."
    • Despite concerns over data collection, users expressed their curiosity about the project. Saeki Sasaki, 33, said, "There's a risk with having the data of your own eyes collected by a company, but I like to follow the most up-to-date crypto projects."
    • Worldcoin posted a picture online of people queuing at a site in Japan and said it plans to roll out 1,500 Orbs in locations across the globe.
  • In London, Worldcoin representatives guided people on how to download the app and get scanned. Participants received free t-shirts and stickers saying "verified human" afterwards. The promise of financial gains from the crypto coins was enough to make them hand over personal data.
    • The BBC's Cyber Correspondent Joe Tidy tested out a Worldcoin Orb and described the process. Initially, the Orb used to talk to users, but customer feedback described it as "creepy," so the voice was removed. This shows the company's responsiveness to user feedback.
  • Worldcoin tokens were trading around $2.30 on the world's largest exchange, Binance, on Tuesday. Ali, a 22-year-old chemical engineering student who has invested some of his student loan in crypto, calculated that the 25 free tokens could be sold for $70 to $80 at current prices. "I told my brother about it this morning. I told him 'it's free money, you want to come with me to get it?'" 💵

Data Collection Despite Concerns

  • Despite the excitement, the project has raised concerns among privacy campaigners and data regulators. Worldcoin's data collection is a "potential privacy nightmare," according to the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a U.S. privacy campaigner.
    • However, Worldcoin's website states that the project is "completely private" and that either biometric data is deleted or users can opt to have it stored in encrypted form. 🔒
  • There's particular concern over those getting sign-ups in poorer nations. Privacy experts also worry that sensitive data gathered from scanning a person's iris might get into the wrong hands
  • Industry reactions:
    • Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of cryptocurrency network Ethereum, expressed excitement about the project but also issued a warning about its potential pitfalls.
    • Twitter founder and crypto enthusiast Jack Dorsey tweeted an apparent criticism of the project, describing its mission as "cute", and adding the dystopian warning: "Visit the Orb or the Orb will visit you...".

As we step into the future

As we step into the future, it's clear that the intersection of finance and technology, including cryptocurrencies, is becoming increasingly significant. The Worldcoin project is just one example of how these two worlds are merging, offering new opportunities and challenges. As we continue to navigate this new landscape, it's crucial to balance the potential benefits with the need for privacy and security.


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Verify Your Humanity: Worldcoin's Iris Scans Unlock the Promise of Free CryptocurrencyThe National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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