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Sam Altman’s new project Worldcoin involves scanning people’s eyes using metal orbs while offering them free Worldcoin crypto in return.
On Thursday, October 21, former Y Combinator President Sam Altman has unveiled a new cryptocurrency project Worldcoin, now valued at more than $1 billion. The new startup Worldcoin promises a free crypto coin for everyone who allows scanning their eyes through an orb-shaped device.
These are metallic orbs that will scan people’s eyes to pay them in cryptocurrency. Although it sounds a little weird at this stage, some of the biggest venture capital firms have shown interest in it. Worldcoin has already raised more than $25 million from investors including Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), Digital Currency Group, and Coinbase Venture.
Besides, some other angel investors like Reid Hoffman and crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried have also invested. As said, Worldcoin pegs a valuation of $1 billion at this point. Although the idea of the project seems outlandish, the company has bold predictions for the future. Worldcoin believes that by 2023, more than a billion people must have gazed into the metal-Orb.
Based out of Germany, Worldcoin has a total of 70 employees working for it. The company also has 30 metal orbs already working in the market. But not just anyone can handle the Orbs. Worldcoin refers to these independent entrepreneurs handling these orbs as “Orb Operators”.
These people will take these devices into the world in remote villages, university campuses, and metro stations. Furthermore, they will convince the people to sign-up for free Worldcoin for an eye scan. Interestingly, the Orb also has a unique identifier dubbed IrisHash that ensures any person scanning his/her eye hasn’t collected Worldcoin previously.
Orb Design Ensures User Privacy
Some experts expressed privacy concerns over this plan. But one of Worldcoin’s co-founders Alex Blania says that Orb’s design is privacy-preserving. Blania noted that the photos of user retinas aren’t stored anywhere. He further noted that the user information is kept private and secure using zero knowledge.
Blania also said that Worldcoin will never collect other user data for identifying information. Blania also stated:
“We designed the whole system to be fundamentally privacy-preserving. The iris code itself is the only thing leaving the orb. There’s no big database of biometric data. It’s the most secure and privacy-preserving way we found to prove everyone in the world is unique.”
Starting November next month, Worldcoin is planning to ramp-up its production to 4,000 Orbs per month. The company has already partnered with a big manufacturer from Germany.
Worldcoin and Its Coin Use-Case
Blania explained one of the key features of the project will be a digital wallet that allows users to store their crypto and make payments. But Blania is willing to attract developers who can build apps on top of its systems. The Worldcoin co-founder added:
Apps “that we don’t see today and that are really hard to build today because very few people hold crypto. Network effects are these very coveted things that are incredibly big. You see this in Facebook. As soon as you suddenly have a billion people and everyday people holding something like that and using something like that, you as an entrepreneur can build completely new things.”
Blania said that Worldcoin can also provide the infrastructure for Universal Basic Income (UBI) at some point in the future.
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