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What is WorldCoin?

Introducing a highly debated cryptocurrency initiative, considered to be one of the most contentious projects in existence.

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Introducing WorldCoin: Exploring Its Purpose, Functionality, and Potential Benefits

WorldCoin, a project spearheaded by Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, aims to distribute free cryptocurrency globally through a unique method involving an eye-scanning device known as the Orb.

WorldCoin, the brainchild of OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, is giving out free crypto around the world for people who gaze into a so-called Orb (an eye-scanner).

WorldCoin has set out on a dual mission:

  1. Reinventing human verification in our AI-driven world.

  2. Establishing the foundation for Universal Basic Income (UBI) on a global scale.

If you find this concept unfamiliar, bear with me as I provide a comprehensive overview of WorldCoin, delving deep into its workings and why it warrants your attention.

To begin, it's crucial to understand that this initiative was founded by Sam Altman, a prominent figure who garnered significant media attention due to his past role as the CEO of YCombinator. YCombinator is a renowned venture capital firm that has provided funding to over 3,000 startups during their early stages, including notable companies like Twitch, Reddit, Airbnb, Coinbase, Filecoin, and Opensea.

Following his departure from YCombinator, Sam Altman founded OpenAI, the organization behind ChatGPT, in 2015. Subsequently, in 2019, Altman, together with Max Novendstern and Alex Blania, established WorldCoin.

Positioned as "the world's largest identity and financial network," WorldCoin has already achieved several milestones, including the successful launch of their mobile application and securing over $100 million in funding. Nevertheless, these accomplishments have raised numerous concerns among the public.

Now, let's delve into the specifics of WorldCoin—what it is, how it operates, its objectives, potential apprehensions, and whether or not it offers financial benefits.

An Orb, an Iris, and a Dream of Universal Basic Income

WorldCoin, introduced by Sam Altman in October 2021, is dedicated to constructing an identity system capable of verifying individuals without the need to collect personal information. Central to this system is the iris, the distinctive colored part of the human eye.

Renowned for its unparalleled complexity and unalterable nature (even identical twins possess distinct irises), the iris is considered an ideal instrument for secure identification. WorldCoin advocates for the use of irises, asserting that they offer a simpler and more accessible alternative to DNA sequencing or fingerprinting methods.

The Orbs

Now, enter the Orb: a super-advanced eye-scanner. 

If you want to dive deep into how this device is built and how it works, read this.

Simplified Explanation of WorldCoin's Iris Verification Process and Motivation Behind Participation

To provide a straightforward understanding of how WorldCoin's iris verification system operates and the reasons for engaging with it, here is a simple breakdown:

1. Display a QR code to the Orb, similar to checking in at a restaurant using your smartphone.

2. Direct your gaze into the Orb, allowing it to capture your iris.

3. The Orb generates a unique digital signature, known as a "hash," from your iris data. This hash is then transmitted to a sequencer node within the WorldCoin network.

4. The sequencer node verifies whether the generated hash has been previously processed.

5. If the hash is new, it is associated with your cryptocurrency wallet address.

6. At this point, the process is complete, and no additional data, apart from the iris hash, is collected.

7. Theoretically, this approach ensures anonymity, as it prevents anyone from identifying your personal information solely based on the iris hash.

However, considering the unusual nature of scanning one's eye into an unfamiliar device, you might wonder why anyone would choose to participate. The answer lies in the potential financial benefits WorldCoin offers. By engaging with the iris verification process, participants have the opportunity to earn money.

WorldCoin is giving away tokens to everyone who scans their eyes. 

Ensuring Legitimacy: WorldCoin's Machine Learning and Participation Statistics

To maintain the integrity of their verification process, WorldCoin has implemented machine learning algorithms. These algorithms are designed to identify attempts at deception, such as wearing eye lenses or scanning animal eyes in an attempt to accumulate additional coins.

According to WorldCoin's official website, approximately 1.8 million individuals have already participated in this unique endeavor, receiving 25 WorldCoin tokens as compensation. It's important to note that the WorldCoin token is not yet active, rendering the current value of these tokens as zero. Consequently, it can be assumed that alternative forms of compensation, potentially in cash, were provided to those who underwent the eye-scanning process.

To register and receive compensation, interested individuals must visit an "Orb operator." These operators, contracted by WorldCoin, earn income for each person they successfully enroll.

The registration process entails utilizing the World App, which is the latest release by WorldCoin. More details about this application will be discussed later in this article.

WorldCoin Token

An important note: WorldCoin token doesn’t yet exist, so any ‘WorldCoin tokens’ out there are fake. Be careful.

According to Alex Bania, a token is coming soon. But there aren’t any specific dates just yet.

WorldCoin positions itself as the pioneer in the global and unrestricted distribution of tokens, aiming to provide both utility and future governance opportunities to individuals worldwide. The sole requirement for participation is to be a unique individual.

By gazing into the Orb device, participants are promised their "fair share" of WorldCoin tokens, which, according to reports, currently amounts to 25 tokens per person. These tokens are built on the Ethereum platform as ERC-20 tokens, leveraging its established infrastructure.

As for the specific utilization of the WorldCoin tokens, details regarding their intended purpose are scarce due to the tokens not being officially active yet. Consequently, there are no official tokenomics available. However, unverified rumors suggest that the token supply may consist of 10 billion tokens. This allocation would include one token for each human being on Earth, with an additional 2 billion tokens earmarked for the development of the WorldCoin project.

Further information regarding the specific use cases and potential applications of the WorldCoin tokens is currently unavailable.

WorldCoin Token’s Purpose: Universal Basic Income

The concept of Universal Basic Income (UBI) may seem like a fantastical idea from a science fiction novel, but it aims to create a reality where individuals receive a regular paycheck simply for being themselves.

In the UBI framework, it's comparable to a regularly scheduled pizza party where everyone is guaranteed a slice, regardless of their background or occupation. This economic model seeks to establish a solid foundation for all individuals, ultimately reducing poverty and inequality.

WorldCoin has secured an invitation to this metaphorical pizza party and intends to utilize its technology as a working prototype for UBI implementation. Let's explore how:

  1. The Guest List: WorldCoin employs its Orb device as the bouncer for this party. It ensures that every attendee is a unique guest, preventing party crashers from taking extra slices.

  2. Pizza Tokens: To ensure everyone receives their fair share, WorldCoin introduces WorldCoin Tokens. Once an individual's identity is verified, they become eligible for their portion of WorldCoin tokens, which can be likened to slices of pizza.

Now, let's turn our attention to WorldCoin's latest release: The World App.

World App: Another, Slightly Different, Crypto Wallet

For those familiar with platforms like Coinbase Wallet, MetaMask, or xPortal, you'll find that the World App shares many similarities with other existing wallets available in the market.

The World App, like these platforms, functions as a digital wallet, allowing users to store, manage, and transact with their cryptocurrencies. While the specific features and user interface may differ slightly, the fundamental purpose remains consistent across these wallet applications.

It's important to note that the World App may incorporate its unique functionalities and potential integrations with the WorldCoin ecosystem, distinguishing it from other wallets in the long run. However, at present, users may find similarities in terms of the basic wallet functionalities when comparing the World App to platforms like Coinbase Wallet, MetaMask, or xPortal.

Initially built on the Polygon network and later migrated to Optimism to mitigate transaction fees, the World App primarily serves as a platform for individuals verified by the Orb to claim their WorldCoin tokens, which will be released in the near future.

Beyond its token claiming functionality, the World App functions as a standard non-custodial wallet, enabling users to manage their digital assets securely.

During its beta stage, the World App garnered significant usage, with approximately 500,000 individuals utilizing it on a monthly basis. These users collectively conducted over 60,000 transactions per day, showcasing the active engagement and adoption of the platform.

To celebrate the launch of WorldApp, the team released a commemorative NFT collection on Zora, where 67k pieces were quickly minted.

WorldCoin Fundraising & Plans

Initially, WorldCoin aimed to maintain a low profile when the project was launched. However, significant media attention ensued when WorldCoin announced its first fundraising campaign.

Two years ago, WorldCoin made a notable impact with a fundraising round that raised $25 million. Prominent investors such as a16z, Coinbase Ventures, and SBF contributed to this round, bringing widespread awareness to the WorldCoin project.

Presently, WorldCoin is on the cusp of another major milestone as it prepares to raise an impressive $100 million in funding. This substantial raise, particularly during a bear market, is a remarkable feat.

The entirety of this funding is intended to be allocated towards scaling WorldCoin's Orb infrastructure globally. This involves manufacturing additional Orb devices and expanding the team of Orb operators who play a crucial role in the verification process. By investing in infrastructure growth and human resources, WorldCoin aims to expand its reach and impact worldwide.

Concerns and Controversies

First of all: Exploiting children without consent.

Given the nature of the remuneration process, which is likely in the form of cash, it is indeed difficult to verify the specific details of how Orb operators are compensated. However, it is apparent that the incentive for Orb operators lies in conducting as many eye scans as possible, as they receive payment for each scan.

These circumstances raise valid concerns about the potential exploitation of individuals, particularly children, without proper consent. It is essential to prioritize ethical considerations and ensure that all participants, regardless of age, provide informed consent and understand the implications of the scanning process.

Additionally, it is worth noting that WorldCoin operations are primarily concentrated in developing countries across South America, Africa, and Asia. The geographic focus of operations highlights the importance of considering the ethical implications, cultural sensitivities, and legal frameworks of these regions when implementing such technologies.

To ensure the integrity of the WorldCoin project and the well-being of participants, it is crucial for responsible and transparent practices to be upheld, including obtaining proper consent, safeguarding privacy, and adhering to legal regulations and ethical standards.

This raises a serious concern that poor people are exploited in return for a small reward.

While it is challenging to verify the backgrounds of the 1.8 million individuals who participated in the WorldCoin eye scanning process, it is indeed a valid concern that some may come from less fortunate backgrounds. Since the WorldCoin token is not yet live, it is reasonable to assume that the remuneration offered to participants who scanned their eyes may have been provided in cash or alternative methods.

Exploitation concerns are significant and should be thoroughly addressed by WorldCoin. It is crucial to ensure that individuals, especially those in vulnerable situations, are not taken advantage of and that proper consent and fair compensation practices are in place.

In addition to exploitation concerns, there have been reported instances of hacking within the WorldCoin ecosystem. Recently, hackers gained unauthorized access to the accounts and dashboards of several WorldCoin Orb operators, compromising passwords and potentially accessing stored data. The extent of personal data accessible to these operators remains uncertain, but the compromised credentials were subsequently made available for sale on the dark web.

These security breaches highlight the importance of robust cybersecurity measures and stringent protocols within the WorldCoin system. Safeguarding personal data, protecting user accounts, and implementing rigorous security practices are essential for maintaining trust and mitigating the risks associated with such incidents.

WorldCoin should prioritize addressing these concerns by strengthening security measures, conducting thorough audits, and ensuring transparent communication regarding data protection and privacy for all participants involved in the project.

credit: Web3 Academy

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