AI entrepreneur Sam Altman has launched a cryptocurrency project called “Worldcoin,” which has been described as “dystopian.” The project offers digital coins to people in exchange for a scan of their eyeballs. On the day of the full launch, people queued at scanning sites worldwide to participate.
The CEO of Open AI, Sam Altman, who also built the chat bot ChatGPT, hopes that Worldcoin will help distinguish humans from AI online while ensuring privacy. He believes that this initiative could lead to increased economic opportunities and potentially pave the way for an “AI-funded” universal basic income, although the exact mechanism for achieving this remains unclear.
To participate in Worldcoin, individuals need to undergo a face and iris scan, which takes about 10 seconds. This information is then stored in a giant database to confirm if they are unique human participants. So far, over two million people from 33 different countries have joined the crypto database, with most sign-ups coming from Europe, India, and southern Africa. However, due to regulatory concerns, Worldcoin is not available to US citizens.
After completing the scanning process, participants receive 25 free Worldcoin tokens, each valued at around $2 (£1.56) at the time of writing. Some individuals see this as an opportunity for potential financial gain, while others remain skeptical about the token’s long-term value.
Privacy experts have expressed concerns about sensitive data collected through iris scanning, although Worldcoin claims that no data is stored. The project has garnered mixed reactions, with some prominent figures in the crypto community expressing excitement about its potential but also warning about the risks of concentrating too much power in the hands of Worldcoin.
Despite criticisms and skepticism, Sam Altman welcomes feedback and sees the project as an ambitious step towards progress in the cryptocurrency space. He believes that trying innovative ideas like Worldcoin is essential for pushing boundaries and driving positive change.