Worldcoin — Sam Altman’s Vision for a Biometric Cryptocurrency

Abdus Salaam Muwwakkil
Rather Labs
Published in
3 min readJul 25, 2023
an orb spnning in a ball of light

Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI (the company behind Chat GPT), announced the launch of his biometric cryptocurrency venture, Worldcoin. This project has been under development for the past three years, with Altman partnering with Max Novendstern and Alex Blania. The goal? To create a digital currency accessible to all and verified by unique human traits.

The Controversial Journey of Worldcoin’s Data Collection in the Developing World

Back in its beta phase, Worldcoin drew attention — and criticism — for its field tests, which involved gathering biometric data from individuals, primarily in the developing world. People were promised free tokens, but these came with conditions that were not always entirely clear to those involved.

Unveiling Worldcoin’s Unique Proof of Personhood Protocol

Critics argued that Worldcoin employed deceptive marketing practices, harvested more personal data than it admitted, and failed to secure informed consent from its users. Some users even mistook the project for a government aid program. Despite the criticisms, Worldcoin has continued to champion its unique “proof of personhood” protocol for Web3, which it claims necessitates large volumes of biometric data.

Advanced Technology to Distinguish Humans from Bots

Signing up for Worldcoin requires an appointment for iris scanning by a silver “orb,” about the size of a bowling ball. This digital passport verifies your human identity and also entitles you to the cryptocurrency WLD. The advent of advanced AI, according to Altman, makes this form of verification essential for distinguishing between humans and bots online.

Bridging the Gap for the Digitally Unverifiable

Worldcoin’s mission extends beyond creating a new kind of cryptocurrency. The founders envision a global ID and financial network that can incorporate individuals without a digitally verifiable identity, allowing them to participate in this new online ecosystem.

Why Worldcoin Operates from the Cayman Islands — Uncovering the Truth

Interestingly, Worldcoin’s operations are largely driven from Berlin, Germany, where its CEO Alex Blania is based. However, the WorldCoin foundation is based in the Cayman Islands. Blania, in an interview, provides some insight into the reasons behind these decisions.

Worldcoin’s Plan for Universal Basic Income (UBI) — A Future Solution or a Potential Tyranny?

One of Worldcoin’s key selling points is its potential role in implementing a form of Universal Basic Income (UBI) via cryptocurrency. While this presents an innovative solution to a growing need for UBI, the adoption of such technology requires careful consideration to prevent misuse and the potential rise of a new form of tyranny.

Worldcoin and OpenAI — Transparency, Trust, and Technology

As we move toward embracing technologies like Worldcoin, it is crucial for developers and promoters to operate with the utmost transparency. They must keep the public informed about their intentions, the workings of the technology, and potential implications. This approach will help build trust and ensure that we adopt these innovations with a full understanding of their potential impact.

Getting Started with Worldcoin — How to Get Your Digital Passport

For those ready to get involved, Worldcoin has launched the World App, a protocol-compatible wallet. After being verified by an Orb, users receive a World ID, a unique digital identifier proving their personhood online. The global distribution of Orbs is expanding, with currently 119 locations listed on the Worldcoin website. Users can reserve their share, book a slot to be verified, and take the first step into this new era of biometric cryptocurrency.


Schedule Orb Visit

Worldcoin White Paper

The App



Abdus Salaam Muwwakkil
Rather Labs

Abdus helps data leaders and innovation teams deploy problem solving solutions to unlock the talents of their people and establish competitive advantages.