Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, has launched today Worldcoin, a cryptocurrency project that pushes the boundaries of innovation and privacy. Founded in collaboration with Tools for Humanity, a firm with roots in San Francisco and Berlin, Worldcoin aspires to redefine digital identities while encouraging widespread cryptocurrency adoption.
worldcoin launches today: https://t.co/UXXE5AFznS
— Sam Altman (@sama) July 24, 2023
At the heart of the project lies the concept of World ID – a unique account created for individual users to verify their humanity. This is achieved via an in-person iris scan, using a device whimsically named the ‘orb.’ This silver sphere, roughly the size of a bowling ball, authenticates the individual as a real human and subsequently generates the World ID.
The objective of the World ID goes beyond mere identification. In an era where generative AI chatbots like ChatGPT demonstrate increasingly human-like capabilities, the World ID promises to serve as a vital tool in distinguishing real people from AI bots online. The integration of World IDs with blockchain technology ensures privacy, with no single entity being able to control or shut down these identities.
Having successfully amassed 2 million users during its beta phase, Worldcoin is now ready to expand ‘orbing’ operations to 35 cities across 20 countries. With this expansion, those who sign up in select countries will be rewarded with Worldcoin’s proprietary cryptocurrency token, WLD. This step towards mass adoption has gained further momentum with Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, planning to list Worldcoin.
But Worldcoin’s ambitions extend beyond just providing a unique identity or a new cryptocurrency. Altman envisions a transformative role for the platform in the changing economic landscape. As AI evolves to perform a larger share of tasks currently done by humans, Altman perceives a shift in the economy, necessitating adaptations like Universal Basic Income (UBI). UBI, a social benefits programme typically run by governments, provides payments to every individual, thus addressing income inequality. With World IDs that are unique to real people, the Worldcoin ecosystem could help mitigate fraud in UBI distribution.
While acknowledging that a world governed by UBI might still be a distant reality, Altman believes Worldcoin is laying the necessary groundwork for its potential implementation. “We think that we need to start experimenting with things so we can figure out what to do,” he explained.
As the world prepares for an era increasingly dominated by AI, projects like Worldcoin mark a significant step forward in providing robust, reliable solutions that address key concerns about identity, privacy, and economic equity.