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OpenAI CEO Sam Altman launches Worldcoin cryptocurrency

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Worldcoin, a cryptocurrency initiative founded by OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman, is launching globally today. Worldcoin aims to create a reliable solution for differentiating between humans and AI online, fostering global democratic processes, and increasing economic opportunities.

At the heart of the project is the World ID, an exclusive account accessible only to real individuals. To obtain a World ID, users must undergo an in-person iris scan using Worldcoin’s ‘orb,’ a helmet-shaped device.

This verification process confirms the person’s authenticity and creates a World ID stored on the blockchain for enhanced privacy and immunity from control by any single entity.

During the beta phase, Worldcoin gathered two million users. With the official launch, the project is expanding its ‘orbing’ operations to 35 cities across 20 countries.

Worldcoin’s Orb will scan a person’s iris to confirm their World ID. | Source: Worldcoin

As an incentive, individuals signing up in select countries will receive Worldcoin’s cryptocurrency tokens, WLD. Notably, Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange, has announced its intention to list Worldcoin, with trading expected to begin on Monday at 09:00 GMT.

Worldcoin has faced challenges during its development, with criticism for exploitative practices in some countries. However, the startup has been quietly onboarding individuals worldwide, offering them 25 Worldcoin tokens as an incentive. The company holds about 20% of all its tokens, and at launch, the maximum circulating supply of the ERC-20-based WLD token will be 143 million.

Worldcoin’s website outlines various potential applications, including fortifying incentive strategies susceptible to fraud, combating bots through identity confirmation, and facilitating global democratic governance.

Sam Altman envisions AI empowering people, and he believes Worldcoin can reshape the economy under the influence of generative AI. One significant implication is universal basic income (UBI), where each individual receives regular payments to combat income inequality as AI takes over more human tasks.

“As AI advances, fairly distributing access and some of the created value through UBI will play an increasingly vital role in counteracting the concentration of economic power. World ID could ensure that each individual registers only once and to guarantee equitable distribution,” read the Worldcoin whitepaper.

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Kumar Hemant

Deputy Editor at Candid.Technology. Hemant writes at the intersection of tech and culture and has a keen interest in science, social issues and international relations. You can contact him here: [email protected]