OpenAI’s CEO, Sam Altman, is making significant progress in securing approximately $100 million in funding for his latest venture, Worldcoin. This ambitious start-up aims to revolutionize the global cryptocurrency landscape by utilizing iris-scanning technology to establish a secure and universal identification system. Despite a challenging year for the crypto sector, Worldcoin has attracted a diverse group of investors, including previous supporters such as Khosla Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz’s crypto fund, as well as prominent figures like FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried and internet entrepreneur Reid Hoffman.
Established in 2019 by Altman and Alex Blania, Worldcoin has maintained a relatively low profile compared to OpenAI, the company responsible for creating the ChatGPT technology and recently striking a lucrative deal with Microsoft. Nevertheless, Worldcoin holds grand aspirations, intending to leverage eyeball-scanning technology to develop a global identification framework that grants individuals free access to their own digital currency, Worldcoin. The company conducted a token sale last year, raising $100 million and valuing the total supply of its tokens at $3 billion.
However, the cryptocurrency market has faced significant challenges over the past year, marked by the collapse of FTX, the cryptocurrency exchange founded by Sam Bankman-Fried. This event, coupled with other setbacks and controversies, led to a decline in token prices and an overall sense of caution among investors. In this context, the substantial investment Worldcoin is nearing is noteworthy and defies the current bear market sentiment.
Worldcoin’s leadership emphasizes that their approach addresses two critical issues posed by advancements in artificial intelligence: distinguishing between humans and bots, and providing a form of universal basic income to mitigate potential job losses caused by AI. The company’s core strategy revolves around an orb that employs iris biometrics to establish an individual’s unique identity, generating a digital World ID that can be used pseudonymously across various everyday applications without revealing personal information. Once users have verified their identity, they can receive free Worldcoin tokens as part of the company’s incentive structure.
Despite its ambitious goals, Worldcoin has faced criticism, primarily concerning privacy risks associated with biometric scanning. To address these concerns, the company’s website includes a dedicated section that asserts non-storage of iris scans and assures users that the device poses no harm to their eyes. Having operated in beta, Worldcoin is now preparing to launch its blockchain protocol and commence recording transactions within the next six weeks. However, Worldcoin declined to comment on the ongoing fundraising efforts.