Come back home

OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman launches a crypto project, Worldcoin

Worldcoin, the ambitious cryptocurrency and digital ID project spearheaded by OpenAI chief Sam Altman, launched on Monday after years in development, promising to verify users’ identity by scanning their eyes and potentially solving one of the more pressing problems posed by recent advances in artificial intelligence that have made it harder to tell whether something was made by humans or an algorithm.

Key facts

  • At the heart of the Worldcoin project is an eye-scanning “orb,” which must be used in-person and gives users a unique digital identity to verify they are a real human and not a bot.
  • A cryptocurrency—which can be used once a user has verified their identity and is also named Worldcoin—and an app that allows users to make payments, purchases, and transfers with it, as well as other digital assets, are also key parts of the project.
  • After collecting more than 2 million users during a beta period, Worldcoin on Monday said it is now going to ramp up its eyeball-scanning operations to 35 cities across 20 countries.
  • The Worldcoin cryptocurrency token has also been issued to eligible people taking part in the beta and is now tradable, the project said.
  • Several exchanges have now listed the token or stated their intention to do so, including Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange by trading volume.
  • Alex Blania, who cofounded Worldcoin with Altman, said the need to prove a person is real is “no longer a topic of serious debate” in the age of AI, adding that Worldcoin hopes to build a “privacy-first, decentralized and maximally inclusive” way of addressing this problem.