Sam Altman, head of OpenAI, the company that created ChatGpt, has launched its own cryptocurrency. It's called Worldcoin and is equipped with an identification system based on the human iris. “More than three years ago, we launched (the company) Worldcoin with the ambition to create a new identity and a financial network that is owned by everyone. This starts today,” two of Worldcoin's co-founders, Sam Altman and Alex Bania, said on the company's website on Monday.
The company has raised $250 million so far. Its investors include top names in US venture capital such as Andreessen Horowitz, Khosla Ventures and Reid Hoffman. The project is ambitious. Perhaps one of the most ambitious projects presented in the crypto world.
The goal is to create and distribute as many cryptocurrency wallets as there are smartphones in circulation. A universal crypto. But to do this, it needs a necessary condition, to have the absolute certainty that behind a smartphone, behind a crypto wallet, there is one and only one person. And this is where the iris comes into play. The only biometric parameter capable of realizing this assumption. There aren't many details on how. But something has emerged so far.
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The document presenting the project is about forty lines long and was circulated on Twitter on Sunday night. From what is known, Worldcoin is a digital identity platform and digital currency, “entitled simply for being human,” according to the website. In practice, the platform is based on "World ID" (World identity).
Difficult to define exactly, but it promises to be a kind of digital passport that allows the owner to prove his identity online without sharing personal data. Part wallet, part identity document (and existence document, because the iris can only be scanned when alive). At least this according to the intentions and declarations of its founders.
To obtain their World identity, the user must undergo an iris scan using "an orb", a biometric device developed by Worldcoin. There are already many images circulating about what it could be like.
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Users are invited to download WorldApp, a digital wallet, which allows them to receive, starting today Monday July 24, "Worldcoin tokens", a cryptocurrency already in circulation for millions of users who participated in the beta version of the platform, Worldcoin specified.
“If we are successful, we believe Worldcoin could radically create economic opportunity by providing a reliable solution for distinguishing humans from online AI while preserving privacy (…) and could ultimately be a potential pathway to an AI-powered universal minimum income,” write Sam Altman and Alex Bania on the company's website. As of now it is not known. But it is possible that the company is thinking of remuneration systems for intellectual property used by AI, a bit like they were asked by regulators.
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"Like any truly ambitious project, it might work or it might not work. But you have to try, that's how progress happens," said Sam Altman, the head of the company that last November published ChatGPT, a generative artificial intelligence interface that today has hundreds of millions of users worldwide.
The Worldcoin project is not neutral. Indeed, it has been harshly criticized both in the United States and in Europe because it actually opens up the possibility of mass biometric recognition projects. The fears are those that have always animated scholars and analysts attentive to privacy issues. Because these projects could give life to data collection systems of network users and holders of a crypto wallet.