On Monday, the cryptocurrency project Worldcoin, founded by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, made its official debut, introducing a unique and innovative concept to the world of digital currencies.
At the core of the project lies the “World ID,” which is being described as a groundbreaking “digital passport” that can serve as proof of a person’s authenticity as a real human, differentiating them from AI bots.
To acquire a World ID, individuals need to participate in an in-person iris scan using a specialized device known as the ‘orb,’ resembling a silver ball with a size roughly equivalent to that of a bowling ball. The orb’s sophisticated iris scanning technology efficiently verifies a person’s human identity, subsequently creating their World ID.
The brain behind the Worldcoin initiative is Tools for Humanity, a company based in both San Francisco and Berlin. Having successfully gathered two million users during its beta period, the project is now expanding its “orbing” operations to reach 35 cities across 20 countries.
To incentivize participation, individuals signing up in select countries will receive Worldcoin’s native cryptocurrency token, known as WLD. Notably, the value of WLD experienced a surge in early trading on the day of the launch. On Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, the token’s price skyrocketed to a peak of $5.29, with a trading volume of $25.1 million, starting from an initial price of $0.15 and settling at $2.49 by 1000 GMT.
A significant aspect of the World ID system is its reliance on blockchains, ensuring the secure storage of identities while preserving user privacy. The decentralized nature of blockchains also prevents any single entity from controlling or shutting down the World ID system, providing additional layers of security.
Worldcoin firmly believes that in an era dominated by generative AI chatbots like ChatGPT, discerning between real humans and AI bots online will be of utmost importance. The introduction of World IDs aims to serve precisely this purpose, effectively distinguishing human users from their AI counterparts.
In a statement to Reuters, co-founder Alex Blania emphasized that World IDs could have broader implications in reshaping the economy under the influence of generative AI. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman concurred, envisioning a future where AI significantly impacts the workforce and leads to potential income inequality issues.
One of Altman’s preferred solutions is the implementation of a universal basic income (UBI), a social benefits program entitling every individual to regular payments. As AI increasingly takes over human jobs, Altman believes that UBI could help combat income inequality. Leveraging World IDs, the system could be designed to minimize fraudulent activities when implementing UBI, as only verified real individuals would be eligible for benefits.
Altman acknowledges that the realization of a UBI-driven world is a distant prospect, and the exact entity responsible for administering such a system remains uncertain. Nevertheless, Worldcoin’s pioneering efforts with the World ID project set the foundation for future explorations and experiments towards making this vision a reality.
As Worldcoin embarks on this revolutionary path, it is expected that more insights and developments will emerge, shaping the landscape of cryptocurrency and its intersection with real-world applications. The journey towards the adoption of World IDs and their potential impact on society and the economy is eagerly anticipated by industry experts and the general public alike.