What In The World Is WorldCoin?
Unveiling one of the most controversial crypto projects in existence.
This article was written on the 26th of May and edited on the 24th of July.
GM DOers! 🚀
Would you scan your eye for free crypto? Depends on what crypto, right? 😅
WorldCoin, the brainchild of OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, is giving out free crypto around the world for people who gaze into a so-called Orb (an eye-scanner). 👁️
They’re changing 👀🔛⛓️ to 👀🔛 ORB 😂
And their lofty mission is twofold:
Reinvent human verification in our AI-centric world 🤖
Lay the groundwork for Universal Basic Income (UBI) 🌍💸
If you have no idea what any of this means, please just bear with me! I spent hours diving deep into WorldCoin, and I think you absolutely need to be aware of what’s going on. 💡
First of all… This project was founded by Sam Altman, hence why it has gotten immense media attention ever since its inception.
Who’s Sam? He’s the ex-CEO of YCombinator, a VC firm that funded over 3000 startups, including Twitch, Reddit, Airbnb, Coinbase, Filecoin and Opensea in the early stages.
After stepping down, Sam Altman founded OpenAI (creators of ChatGPT) in 2015, and in 2019, together with Max Novendstern and Alex Blania, founded WorldCoin.
WorldCoin wants to be “the world’s largest identity and financial network”, and thus far, they’ve managed to:
Launch an app 📱
Raise over $100M 💰
Spark about a billion concerns 😨
Launch a token 💲
Enough introductions… Let’s dive into what WorldCoin is, how it works, what it tries to achieve, whether or not you should be concerned, and… If you can benefit financially from this.
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An Orb, an Iris, and a Dream of Universal Basic Income 👁️
Officially announced in October 2021 by Sam Altman, WorldCoin strives to build an identity system that can verify humans, without actually gathering any personal information.
At the heart of WorldCoin's ID system is the iris, the colored part of your eye. 👁️
Uniquely complex and impossible to modify (yes, not even identical twins share the same iris), irises are allegedly the perfect tool for secure identification and apparently easier than DNA sequencing or fingerprinting.
Now, enter the Orb: a super-advanced eye-scanner.
If you want to dive deep into how this device is built and how it works, read this.
I’ll try to easily explain how this thing works and how you can verify you’re a human using this rather fancy device:
Show the Orb a QR code (kind of like checking into a restaurant!) 📲
Gaze into the Orb 👀
The Orb generates a 'hash', a kind of digital signature unique to your iris, and sends this to a sequencer node (a part of the WorldCoin network).
The sequencer node checks if this hash has been processed before.
If not, it's linked to your crypto wallet address. 🪙
And then you’re set, with no other data, apart from the iris hash, being gathered.
Theoretically, this makes the process anonymous, and no one can pin down your identity from this. 🕵️♂️
But still… Scanning your eye into a suspicious device is weird. So why would you do it?
Answer: Money 💰
WorldCoin is giving away tokens to everyone who scans their eyes.
They even have machine learning in place to detect if you're trying to pull a fast one by wearing eye-lenses or scanning your dog’s eyes to score more coins! 🐶
To date (according to WorldCoin’s website), around 1.8 million people have already given this a whirl in exchange for free crypto, more specifically, 25 WorldCoin tokens.
Note: The WorldCoin token was just launched and it’s only worth $2.5/$WLD. That’s not enough to incentivize people to scan their irises, so it’s safe to assume that there were other ways that people who scanned their eyes were paid (presumably in cash).
To sign up & receive remuneration, you need to visit an "Orb operator” (folks recruited and contracted by WorldCoin) who earns money for every person they sign up.
The way you sign up is through the World App (WorldCoin’s newest release), which we’ll talk about later in this article.
In the meantime, let’s touch on the WorldCoin token:
WorldCoin Token ($WLD)
The WorldCoin token was released on the 24th of July, 2023.
The goal of $WLD: To be the first token that’s globally and freely distributed to people with the sole requirement that recipients are humans!
In other words, if you gaze your eyes into the Orb, you’ll receive your ‘fair share’ of WorldCoin tokens (apparently 25), which are built on Ethereum as ERC-20 tokens.
Lastly, because the token just came out, its tokenomics aren’t clear. What we know so far is that there’s a total supply of 10 Billion $WLD and only 1.05% are put in circulation.
Furthermore, 20% of $WLD is held by the Worldcoin foundation.
We might do a deep dive into the tokenomics of $WLD for our PRO members in the future.
But in the meantime, let’s look at what the token is going to be used for. 👀
WorldCoin Token’s Purpose: Universal Basic Income
Imagine a world where everyone gets a regular paycheck just for being themselves. Sounds a bit like a fantasy, right? 😴
This isn’t the start of a sci-fi novel—it's a concept called Universal Basic Income (UBI).
UBI is like a regularly scheduled pizza party, where everyone gets a slice, no matter who they are or what they do. This economic model aims to put a solid floor under everyone, reducing poverty and inequality.
WorldCoin has got a ticket to this pizza party, aiming to use its tech to become a working prototype for UBI. Let's see how:
The Guest List: Using their Orb (the bouncer at this party), WorldCoin can check that everyone's a unique guest and not party crashers trying to snag extra slices.
Tokens: Now, how do you ensure everyone gets their slice? $WLD: Once your identity is confirmed, you're eligible for your fair share of WorldCoin tokens.
Now… Let’s talk about where all of this will take place: The World App
World App: Another, Slightly Different, Crypto Wallet 📱
If you’ve used Coinbase Wallet, MetaMask, or xPortal, you’ll notice that World App isn’t much different than all of the other wallets out there.
Built on Polygon initially and migrated to Optimism, World App’s main purpose is to allow Orb-verified people to claim their $WLD.
Other than that, it acts as a usual non-custodial wallet.
In its beta stage, 500k people used it monthly to send over 60k transactions a day.
Upon official release, World App quickly reached the top ranks on App Store:
To celebrate the launch of WorldApp, the team released a commemorative NFT collection on Zora, where 67k pieces were quickly minted.
While everything seems fun and exciting, these WorldCoin developments are raising some serious concerns. We’ll dive into those in a second, but first…
Let us give us the lowdown on WorldCoin’s latest fundraising & future plans. Keep scrolling 👇
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WorldCoin Fundraising & Plans 💰
When the project was initially launched, it planned to fly under the radar. However, heavy media attention began to occur when WorldCoin announced its first fundraising.
Two years ago, it made a splash with a $25M fundraising round funded by the likes of a16z, Coinbase Ventures, and SBF. That’s when everyone found out about WorldCoin.
Fast forward to today, and WorldCoin is about to pop the champagne again by raising a whopping $100M (which would put the company value at $3 billion) – according to Financial Times.
$100 MILLION raise? In a bear market? WOWzers.
The startup has raised about $250 Million altogether and counts Andreessen Horowitz, Khosla Ventures and Reid Hoffman among its backers
Each and every penny plans to go towards scaling their Orb infrastructure across the globe, by manufacturing more and more devices, and hiring more Orb operators.
This is raising some serious concerns:
Concerns and Controversies
First of all: Exploiting children without consent.
While this isn’t verified due to the nature of how remuneration is rewarded (probably cash), it’s clear that the interest of Orb operators is to scan as many eyes as possible.
Orb operators receive money for every eye scan.
Therefore, it’s safe to assume that a lot of people (especially children) are exploited without consent.
Furthermore, the WorldCoin operations are predominantly happening in developing countries from South America, Africa and Asia.
This raises a serious concern that poor people are exploited in return for a small reward.
Unfortunately, we cannot verify how many of the 1.8 million people were coming from less fortunate backgrounds.
Because the WorldCoin token wasn’t live until now, it’s safe to assume that the remuneration given to people who scanned their eyes was given in cash (or other methods).
But with the launch of $WLD, this issue will hopefully get solved.
Lastly, there are concerns about hacks. Of course, hacks!
Recently, hackers stole the passwords of a bunch of Worldcoin Orb operators, and were able to access their accounts and dashboards where data was stored.
It is unknown how much access these operators had to personal data but whatever they did possess is out there on the dark web, because the hackers quickly decided to put the credentials up for sale.
Wrapping Up: How Can You Benefit From This? 👀
At Web3 Academy, we help you to capitalize on the opportunity.
However, the opportunity is slightly unclear when it comes to WorldCoin. Why? Because this has never been done before.
Nevertheless, there are 3 things you need to keep in mind:
P.S- The information below is exclusive to our PRO members, as per usual.