Worldcoin, the brainchild of OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, is poised to broaden its footprint on a global scale, aiming to not only attract more users but also offer its iris-scanning and identity-verification technology to other organisations, according to a senior manager within the project. Launched recently, Worldcoin mandates users to undergo iris scans in exchange for digital identification and, in certain regions, complimentary cryptocurrency, as part of its mission to establish an “identity and financial network.”
In numerous enrollment centres across the world, individuals have been willingly participating in iris scans using a futuristic spherical device called an “orb.” Despite privacy advocates’ concerns about the potential misuse of biometric data, Worldcoin claims that around 2.2 million people have registered, primarily during a trial phase spanning two years. Regulatory authorities in the UK, France, and Germany have announced investigations into the initiative.
Ricardo Macieira, General Manager for Europe at Tools For Humanity, the company behind Worldcoin, highlighted their pursuit of establishing a robust financial and identity community globally. Macieira emphasised the company’s plans to expand operations across Europe, Latin America, Africa, and beyond, as long as they are welcomed.
Worldcoin’s recent funding round in May successfully raised $115 million from prominent venture capital investors, including Bain Capital Crypto, a16z crypto, Blockchain Capital, and Distributed Global. The company intends to maintain its momentum, focusing on boosting its engagement through its text-based app, Threads, following a noticeable dip in users shortly after its 5 July launch.
The reported plans include the deployment of AI-powered chatbots with distinct personalities, set to debut as early as September. These chatbots are expected to revolutionise the user experience by providing a new search function and personalized recommendations. Worldcoin’s ambitious goals encompass a spectrum of applications, from distinguishing humans from artificial intelligence to potentially laying the groundwork for universal basic income.
In terms of revenue streams, Worldcoin envisions offering its digital identity system to various entities. Companies could utilise this technology to ensure streamlined distribution of services, such as providing free products without the need for personal data collection.
While concerns have been raised by regulators and privacy advocates regarding data privacy and security, Worldcoin asserts its commitment to privacy, noting that biometric data is either encrypted or deleted after use. The company emphasises complying with data protection regulations and pledges transparency in its practices.
The project has not been without its critics, with some labelling it as “irresponsible” and questioning the problems it aims to solve. Despite the scepticism, Worldcoin remains focused on advancing its mission to create a broader consumer base for Web3 and crypto products. As the project unfolds, the global tech community will undoubtedly continue to closely monitor its progress and implications for the future of digital identity and blockchain-based technology.
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