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Sam Altman’s Worldcoin eyeball-scanning crypto project launches


Worldcoin, Sam Altman’s audacious eyeball-scanning crypto startup, has started the global rollout of its services to help build a reliable solution for “distinguishing humans from AI online,” enable “global democratic processes” and “drastically increase economic opportunity.”

The startup, which has raised about $250 million altogether and counts Andreessen Horowitz, Khosla Ventures and Reid Hoffman among its backers, said it’s rolling out its identity technology as well as the token internationally. Individuals can download World App, the startup’s protocol-compatible wallet software, and visit an Orb, the startup’s helmet-shaped eyeball-scanning verification device, to receive their World ID.

As TechCrunch has previously noted, Worldcoin is perhaps one of the most audacious efforts to bribe the world to embrace their currency. The startup, founded by OpenAI CEO Altman and Alex Blania, wants to put a crypto wallet (and some of their currency) onto every human’s smartphone, but in order to do so they have to build a way to determine whether someone is a unique human.

Worldcoin, in the works for over three years, has been quietly signing up individuals in many countries, including India, giving those onboarding 25 Worldcoin tokens. But the journey so far hasn’t been very smooth. The project has received criticism for exploitative practices in poor countries. Between May 2021 and July 2023, more than 2 million individuals verified their World IDs at an Orb across more than 30 different countries, the startup said.

Worldcoin’s website outlines its key potential applications: fortifying incentive strategies like coupons and loyalty programs traditionally susceptible to fraud, combatting bots through identity confirmation, and facilitating a globally democratic governance mechanism.

Worldcoin is holding about 20% of all its tokens, which are not launching in the U.S. for now. For the first 15 years, the startup is capping the total supply to 10 billion “WLD” tokens, it said. (More on this below.) At launch on Monday, the maximum circulating supply of the token, which is ERC-20 based, is 143 million, Worldcoin writes in a whitepaper.

“If successful, we believe Worldcoin could drastically increase economic opportunity, scale a reliable solution for distinguishing humans for AI online while preserving private, enable global democratic processes, and eventually show a potential path to AI-funded UBI,” said the statement in a statement.

Worldcoin is an “attempt at global scale alignment,” it said, prompting a jab from Jack Dorsey, Twitter co-founder and no stranger to the world of cryptocurrency, who found it “cute.”

Worldcoin tokenomics