Worldcoin, a cryptocurrency project founded by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, made its debut on Monday, introducing its unique offering called the “World ID,” which serves as a digital passport to distinguish real humans from AI bots. To obtain a World ID, users must undergo an in-person iris scan using Worldcoin’s innovative ‘orb,’ a silver ball about the size of a bowling ball. This iris scan verifies the person’s authenticity as a human, and upon verification, a World ID is created.
Behind Worldcoin is the San Francisco and Berlin-based organization Tools for Humanity. During its beta phase, the project attracted two million users, and with its official launch, Worldcoin is expanding its “orbing” operations to 35 cities across 20 countries. As an incentive for sign-ups, users in specific countries will receive Worldcoin’s cryptocurrency token, WLD.
The price of WLD experienced a notable surge in early trading on Monday, reaching a peak of $5.29 on the prominent exchange Binance. Starting at $0.15, the token’s value climbed to $2.49 at 1000 GMT, with a trading volume of $25.1 million, as reported on Binance’s website.
The project’s founders emphasize that World IDs are stored on blockchains in a privacy-preserving manner, ensuring that no single entity can control or shut down the system.
The World ID holds significant potential in the age of advanced AI chatbots like ChatGPT, which can generate language that closely resembles human speech. World IDs are envisioned as a means to differentiate between genuine individuals and AI bots in the digital realm.
According to Altman, the concept of World IDs ties into broader economic implications brought on by the rise of AI. He cites universal basic income (UBI) as one example, envisioning a future where AI performs a substantial portion of human labor. In such a scenario, UBI could help address income inequality. Since World IDs are exclusive to real individuals, they could effectively combat fraud when implementing UBI programs.
While Altman acknowledges that a world with UBI is still far off, he believes that starting to experiment with concepts like Worldcoin’s World ID lays the groundwork for the potential realization of such ideas. By conducting trials and learning from these experiences, the project aims to pave the way for the future of economic systems in an AI-driven world.