By; OLIVIA NNOROM
Worldcoin (WLD), an Iris biometric cryptocurrency project Co-created by Sam Alman, OpenAi CEO has went live on Monday, 24th July, 2023. The coin was founded with the ambition to create a new identity and financial network owned by everyone.
According to a press release by the company, Worldcoin has the ability to help build a reliable solution for “distinguished humans from AI online”, enable “global democratic processes” and drastically increase economic opportunity.
To access the coin, you are required to download the world app, the Startup’s protocol-compatible wallet software and reserve your share by visiting an orb, a biometric verification device that will issue you a world ID. This verification process lets you prove you are a real and unique person online “while remaining completely private”, by scanning your Iris.
The project before launch has over 2 million users from across more than 30 different countries and with Monday’s launch is spreading out its Iris scanning process as well as circulate 143 million of its token to 35 cities in 20 countries.
Although Alex Blania, Worldcoin Co-founder, described it as necessary in the world of generative AI chatbots like ChatGPT, which closely imitates human languages, Worldcoin has spurred different reactions from individuals and organisations.
The company’s goals face being stymied by Us regulators cracking down on digital assets based on fears over crypto being used as a vehicle for speculation and fraud. For this reason, Worldcoin tokens will not initially be available in the US.
Speaking on this Altman said “when we started thinking about this, we didn’t think it would end up as ‘world minus the US coin” , however, he noted that this limitation does not make or break the project.
@1MrPapi on twitter said “I worked in the biometric industry for years and can say with certainty—do not do this. Many don’t realise how precious your biometric data is”
Another twitter user @CenterJuiceNa said “so worldcoin has apparently broken the code on identity protection.”
@BTCdigi777 described the launch as a “gift wrapped CBDC/social credit score, “ expressing his disapproval and lack of interest.
@everyrhingAjay said “ Do we have to scan our eyeballs now?”
Another concerned twitter user @ivangbi claimed that the project is exploiting poor people and offering them shitcoin in return.
In his words, “Scamming poor people of their data via MLM orbs by giving them shitcoins and feeding bs narratives?’
@Vipul19 said “so we give you our most personal and unique identifiers, enabling you to give us coins which don’t have any value today but will gain momentum as more and more people provide you with these unique identifiers. Thank you but no thank you. My data is precious”
Also, @legitKnuckle queried the authenticity of the project claimed privacy protection, “what’s the guarantee?are we supposed to just take your word for it? The project isn’t open source. We can’t know where the data goes”
Also another observation that may seem to contradict the project’s purpose “to distribute the coins to only orb verified humans’ ‘, a twitter user @Xinyuan_huang noted that the ERC-20 based coin can be bought on Binance without orb verification.
“Without orb verification, you can buy this on Binance, isn’t this contradictory with this project description?”
Many other speculations claimed that the coin is simply a bait for exploitative reasons and to eventually gain control over those who succumb. They stressed on the need to encourage decentralisation where cryptocurrency is concerned.
In its defence, Worldcoin said that the company is not a data broker and their business model does not involve exploiting user data for profit. They therefore claimed that they are only interested in the user’s uniqueness “they have not signed up for world coin before” not their identity.
Altman also admitted that although the eye-scanning technology has “a clear ick factor”, he is confident that with proper explanation, the company can attract users.
The coin is currently listed on major Cryptocurrency exchanges including Binance, Bybit, OKx, Huobi and Kucoin.