Cryptocurrency project Worldcoin, founded by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, made its highly-anticipated debut on Monday, marking a significant step in the evolution of digital identity verification.
The cornerstone of the Worldcoin project is its innovative World ID, which the company aptly describes as a “digital passport.”
This cutting-edge identity system is designed to prove the authenticity of individuals, distinguishing real humans from AI bots. To acquire a World ID, users must undergo an in-person iris scan using Worldcoin remarkable ‘orb,’ a metallic sphere similar in size to a bowling ball. Upon successful verification of the individual’s humanity, the orb generates a unique World ID.
The driving force behind Worldcoin is the San Francisco and Berlin-based organization, Tools for Humanity. Throughout its beta phase, the project garnered an impressive user base of 2 million participants. Now, with the official launch underway, Worldcoin aims to expand its “orbing” operations to encompass 35 cities across 20 countries. To incentivize adoption, the cryptocurrency token WLD will be rewarded to those who sign up in select countries.
The value of WLD saw a surge during early trading on Monday, with the token hitting a peak price of $5.29 on the world’s largest exchange, Binance. At 1000 GMT, the price settled at $2.49, starting from a modest $0.15. Binance’s website recorded an impressive trading volume of $25.1 million for the cryptocurrency.
One of the key features of the Worldcoin project is the secure storage of World IDs through blockchain technology. According to co-founder Alex Blania, this approach ensures privacy protection and prevents centralized control or shutdown by any single entity, enhancing the overall reliability of the system.
Worldcoin’s vision for World IDs extends beyond identity verification. The project anticipates a future where generative AI, such as the sophisticated ChatGPT language model, becomes increasingly indistinguishable from human communication. In this context, World IDs can play a vital role in discerning real individuals from AI bots in online interactions, aiding in the fight against misinformation and potential AI-based impersonations.
During an interview with Reuters, Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI and founder of Worldcoin, shed light on the broader implications of AI advancements on the economy. Altman emphasized the potential impact of AI on the job market and suggested that universal basic income (UBI) could be a viable solution to address income inequality arising from the displacement of human labor by AI technologies. He believes that UBI, a social benefits program where every individual is entitled to regular payments, could be facilitated by World IDs, as they provide a robust mechanism to reduce fraud and ensure assistance reaches genuine recipients.
Altman acknowledged that the implementation of widespread UBI is still a distant prospect, and the specifics of how it would be administered remain uncertain. However, he expressed the importance of conducting experiments and laying the groundwork for such transformative economic policies, with Worldcoin’s World ID serving as a promising starting point.
“We think that we need to start experimenting with things so we can figure out what to do,” Altman asserted, underscoring the project’s commitment to shaping a future where AI and human potential can coexist harmoniously.