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Sam Altman close to securing $100M funding for iris-scanning crypto project Worldcoin

Worldcoin is an ambitious and complex crypto project that’s working to build the world’s largest decentralised financial and identity network.

Sam Altman, cofounder and CEO of OpenAI, is close to securing $100 million in funding for Worldcoin, the Financial Times reported on Sunday, citing sources familiar with the situation. 

The startup has already garnered support from prominent entities such as Andreessen Horowitz’s crypto fund, Coinbase Ventures (the venture capital arm of Coinbase), Variant and more.

“It’s a bear market, a crypto winter. It’s remarkable for a project in this space to get this amount of investment,” one of the FT’s sources told the publication.

Altman is a long proponent of safe and friendly AI, and he believes that ‘proving personhood’ (i.e. proving that you’re a unique, real human being, rather than a neural network) will be essential in the near future. 

Worldcoin: what is it and how does it work? 

The Worldcoin protocol aims to give people universal access to the global economy through a decentralized network that provides individuals with a unique digital identity.

‘The Orb’ is an essential part of Worldcoin.

The Orb is a biometric imaging device that scans the iris of a user in order to verify them as a unique human being, rather than a neural network. When an iris scan is complete, Worldcoin creates a cryptographic hash that can be used to anonymously prove the person’s identity through the World app. 

Once verified, users can securely sign in to websites, mobile apps and crypto dapps without sharing personal data like a name or email address.

A breakdown of the Orb, Worldcoin’s biometric device

Some have expressed privacy concerns over biometric data collection, but Altman has emphasised that maximising privacy and autonomy is a cornerstone of Worldcoin’s mission. The Orb’s mainboard processes information locally, so images never leave the device unless a person explicitly requests it. 

Altman said, “To me personally, the amount of privacy you give up to use Facebook or something versus the amount of privacy you give up for a scan of your retina and nothing else — I’d much rather have the latter.”

There are three arms to the Worldcoin mission, namely:

  • World ID: a digital identity solution that provides a means to establish an individual’s unique personhood securely. 
  • Worldcoin Token: a unique global token that’s freely distributed to individuals, offering both utility and the potential for future governance. The token is solely based on a user’s status as a unique individual.
  • The World App: a comprehensive, self-custodial app that enables users to engage in global transactions, including payments, purchases, and transfers, using the Worldcoin token, digital assets, stablecoins, and traditional currencies.

The Worldcoin app launched last week on May 8. It’s a gas-free crypto wallet and is very user-friendly. You can read more about the Worldcoin app here.

Disclaimer: CryptoPlug does not recommend that any cryptocurrency should be bought, sold, or held by you. Do conduct your own due diligence and consult your financial advisor before making any investment decisions.

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